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From the International Campaign for Tibet:

An anonymous Tibetan blogger posted the following on a Chinese-language, Tibetan-run website recently:

“The 2009 Losar was always going to be unusual because so many people have been killed. In our family, our father can never come back, our mother has visibly aged, uncles and brothers have been detained—some of whom we still don’t whether they’re dead or alive. Last night, the eldest brother in the neighbor’s family was taken away…

“I myself will not be celebrating the new year because those who died were my compatriots, and I knew several of those who died—they were shot dead. I haven’t dared call home since March of last year because I don’t want to cause them any trouble. And so I don’t know how they are. I’ve had no information on them, and just hope they’re okay.”

In a posting entitled “Let Us Make Lamp Offerings and Light Candles to Commemorate the Souls of the Deceased,” the Tibetan writer Woeser wrote:

“…let us light butter lamps to make offerings in memory of the deceased, whose exact number we still do not know, in the corners where the video surveillance can not reach. Furthermore, those of us who live in alien lands and do not have butter lamps to offer, let us light candles for those deceased whose exact number we still do not know.”

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China has ordered government and security forces in Tibet to crush any signs of support for the Dalai Lama, AFP reported a Chinese state media in Tibet as saying Thursday.

A conference of Chinese Communist leaders ordered authorities to “mobilise and fully deploy” to maintain stability, the Tibet Daily reportedly said.

The move has been descibed by AFP as “a possible indication China fears unrest ahead of the March 10 anniversary”.

The warning also comes amid a widespread movement to boycott festivities during the coming Tibetan New Year next week. The movement aims to use the occasion as a silent protest to mourn Tibetans who were killed during the government crackdown last March and express concern for those arrested or tortured.

“The meeting called on the party, government, military, police and public in all areas… to firmly crush the savage aggression of the Dalai clique, defeat separatism, and wage people’s war to maintain stability,” the paper said of the meeting in Lhasa.

The report, however, reportedly gave no details on any security measures.

It said the order was aimed at ensuring stability for the 50th anniversary of social reforms introduced to supplant the Dalai Lama-led Buddhist system. However, those reforms followed the failed uprising that began on March 10, 1959, and forced the Dalai Lama to flee into exile.

China is maintaining ultra-tight security on the Himalayan region ahead of the anniversary of the uprising, which was crushed by Chinese forces. The Tibetan government-in-exile says the Chinese army killed 87,000 people in the crackdown. China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to invade the region.

The security meeting in Tibet said the overarching task for Tibetan authorities this year was to “resolutely go toe-to-toe in a battle against all destructive separatist activities to maintain stability.”

A separate editorial by the Tibet Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s main mouthpiece in Tibet, also called for a toughened stance, according to the AFP report.

“We must maintain heavy pressure on criminal violators from start to finish,” said the editorial, which focused on the “separatist” threat.

Exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama this month warned of a possible uprising in his homeland amid anger over a Chinese crackdown put in place after widespread anti-China riots erupted across Tibet on last year’s anniversary.

“It is so tense that the Chinese military have their hands on the trigger when they carry weapons… So long as there is a Chinese military presence, there will be tension,” the Tibetan leader said in Germany while accepting a media prize.

Dharamsala, February 19: A communist Party in Official in Tibet has warned Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns against political activity in the run-up to the first anniversary of last year’s massive unrest against Beijing’s rule in Tibet, according to a report by AP Thursday.

The warning also comes just little less than three weeks before the 50th anniversary of the abortive Tibetan uprising against China’s rule which forced Tibetan leader Dalai Lama to flee into exile in India in 1959.

The warning from Lobsang Gyaincain, published in the China’s official Tibet Daily on Thursday, followed a reported crackdown earlier this week on Tibetan protesters in Lithang, a volatile traditionally Tibetan region of Sichuan province.

Lobsang Gyaincain, who is a member of the standing committee of the regional Communist Party, also demanded that monks and nuns recognize what he called the “reactionary nature” of the Dalai Lama clique, as well as plots to use temples and clergy to carry out “infiltration and disturbances,” Tibet Daily reported.

Clergy must “refuse to take part in activities aimed at splitting the motherland, and not take part in illegal marches, demonstrations and other activities that disrupt social order,” it quoted Lobsang as telling a meeting of clergy on Wednesday.

The official also heads the regional party committee’s United Front Work Department, which is in charge of directly supervising Buddhist temples and clergy.

Chinese authorities in Tibet have also come with a fresh order calling on local nuns and monks to reject the Dalai Lama and separatist activities at an annual meet this week, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

Monks and nuns should “safeguard social stability, the socialist legal system and fundamental interests of the people”, and should “consciously keep themselves away” from separatist activities and illegal demonstrations that impair social order, Xinhua quoted the new order as saying.

It asked Tibetan Buddhist monks to “see clearly that the 14th Dalai Lama is the ringleader of the separatist political association which seeks ‘Tibet independence’, a loyal tool of anti-China Western forces, the very root that causes social unrest in Tibet and the biggest obstacle for Tibetan Buddhism to build up its order”, the agency said.

The authorities had also awarded 36 monks and nuns and 10 monasteries with the title of “patriotic and law-abiding” models,Xinhua said.

China, which sent military troops to forcefully occupy Tibet in late 1949, regularly vilifies the 73-year-old Dalai Lama, who remains widely popular among Tibetans 50 years after fleeing to India and is revered by them as their supreme leader.

Beijing accuses elements of the Dalai Lama’s self-proclaimed government in exile of organizing last year’s anti-China unrest in Tibet, and claimed they “clear evidence” to prove the allegations.

Dalai Lama and the Tibet’s Government in exile rejected the accusations as baseless and unfounded, and openly challenged Beijing to produce evidence, if any. The Tibetan government also repeatedly urged Beijing to allow international monitoring body to independently assess the situation in Tibet and the nature of the unrest.

However, Beijing did not show any response to such calls, despite some international insistence also.

Wednesday’s meeting is a further sign of official nervousness ahead of the protest anniversary, particularly as next month also marks 50 years since the Dalai Lama’s flight abroad, AP said in its report.

Chinese security forces on Sunday and Monday swiftly broke up the protests in Lithang. At least 21 people were detained and troops were reportedly searching for others who might have joined in the demonstrations in which protesters shouted slogans calling for Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet and demanded “independence for Tibet.”

According to media reports, Lithang, like other Tibetan regions, has been practically sealed off from the rest of China by road blocks and travel bans.

BADEN BADEN, Germany – The Dalai Lama warned Wednesday of a fresh uprising in Tibet in the “very tense” run-up to the 50th anniversary of the failed rebellion against Chinese rule that prompted his flight into exile.

“Today there is too much anger… The situation is very tense,” said the 73-year-old Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader during a visit to the German spa town of Baden Baden.

“At any moment there can be an outburst of violence,” he told a group of journalists. “This is my worry because with more uprising, there will be more crackdown. Things are very sad.”

He added: “It is so tense that the Chinese military have their hands on the trigger when they carry weapons… So long as there is a Chinese military presence, there will be tension.”

“Since public execution is difficult, they use torture when Tibetans are detained, As soon as people are arrested, they use torture — and sometimes they kill them.”

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising by Tibetans against communist Chinese rule — a violent episode that prompted the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile in India.

China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist agitating for independence for Tibet. It lodges strong protests whenever he meets with political leaders overseas or is accorded an official welcome of any kind.

Now based in Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama denies he is seeking independence, saying he only wants real automony for Tibet and an end to Chinese cultural oppression.

He was in Baden Baden for a ceremony on Tuesday in which he received the 2008 German Media Prize, which is awarded every year by a panel of German editors and journalists.

Previous recipients have included Bill Clinton, the former US president; Nelson Mandela, the Nobel laureate and former South African president; and Helmut Kohl, Germany’s former chancellor.

Unrest most recently erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14 last year, and spread to Tibetan-populated regions around China.

Tibet’s government-in-exile, which is led by the Dalai Lama, said more than 200 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in a subsequent Chinese crackdown. The figures disputed by Beijing.

Earlier on Wednesday, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency revealed the sentencing of 76 people in connection with the violence — an increase from a previously reported figure of 55.

The Dalai Lama said Wednesday his information about the situation in Tibet came from “Tibetan groups or individuals who come to see me when they leave Tibet”.

He said he understood that, after more than a half-century under Chinese rule, many Tibetans have “desperate opinions,” but he argued that non-violence was the only way forward.

“The Chinese systematically suppress Tibetan identity,” he said. “The Chinese are determined to crush it mercilessly.”

In many places in Tibet, he said, schools have been closed, including privately funded schools which are “more free to teach Tibetan identity”.

It is essential, he said, “to create a signal (to Beijing) that the Tibetan question won’t go, unless a mutually accepted solution is found. That is important.”

“The interest for Tibetan culture and Tibetan human rights is now worldwide.”

The United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon called on China to continue its dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, AFP reported.

“I hope the Chinese authorities will continue to resolve this issue through dialogue,” Ban told journalists yesterday.

China said last month that talks with Dharamsala had failed to produce any result and blamed the Tibetan side for it. It said the demands for autonomy were disguised call for independence saying it would not compromise on the status of the Himalayan region.

“Our contacts and talks failed to make progress and they (the Dalai Lama’s representatives) should assume full responsibility for it,” said Zhu Weiqun, executive vice minister of the Community Party’s United Front Department.

The use of torture in the restless Chinese region of Tibet is widespread and routine and officials regularly ignore legal safeguards supposed to be in place to prevent it, a new report said on Wednesday.

Courier Mail)
This photo, taken in the second week of November, shows Chinese soldiers patrolling the area around the Jokhang Temple in central Lhasa. Recent reports indicate China has intensified its military presence in Tibet amid fears of recurring protests in the restive Himalayan region. (Phayul/Photo: Courier Mail)

Even when detainees are released, they may die of their injuries, be scarred for life mentally or physically and not be able to afford medical treatment or be denied it completely, the Free Tibet group said.

“Despite claims by the Chinese government that there are ‘extremely few cases of torture’, the evidence tells a different story,” Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden said. “There is no doubt that the Chinese government is permitting the use of torture as a weapon to suppress the Tibetan people.”

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment and calls to the spokesman’s office of the Chinese-run Tibetan government in Lhasa went unanswered.

Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 and the region’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959 after a failed uprising against Beijing’s rule.

Mountainous and remote Tibet was rocked by anti-Chinese protests earlier this year, which China blamed on the Dalai Lama, whom it brands a separatist. He has repeatedly denied the claims.

Free Tibet said it had profiled numerous cases of torture carried out against people detained following the demonstrations, which spilled over into other ethnically Tibetan parts of China such as Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan provinces.

It said that one monk at the Labrang monastery in Gansu, Jigme Gyatso, had to be hospitalised for almost a month after his injuries received in detention.

“They would hang me up for several hours with my hands tied to a rope … hanging from the ceiling and my feet above the ground. Then they would beat me on my face, chest, and back, with the full force of their fists,” he said in the report.

“Finally, on one occasion, I lost consciousness and was taken to hospital. After I regained consciousness at the hospital, I was once again taken back to prison where they continued the practice of hanging me from the ceiling and beating me.”

China has vowed to stamp out torture in its judicial system, described as widespread by some critics, in the face of international and domestic pressure.

Last month, the U.N. Committee Against Torture, in a rare public review of China’s record, expressed dissatisfaction with a “very serious information gap” about abuses in the country where criminal justice information is often considered a state secret. Free Tibet, in the report issued to coincide with International Human Rights Day, said Chinese laws aimed at protecting detainees were regularly ignored in Tibet.

“The international community can no longer hide behind sound bites condemning China’s human rights track record in Tibet and must now take specific actions to reverse the worsening crisis in Tibet,” Brigden added.

China and envoys of the Dalai Lama have been meeting on and off for the past few years, but with little to show for their talks.

Beijing has rejected the Dalai Lama’s calls for greater autonomy as being part of a plot for covert independence.

On Wednesday, the semi-official China News Service quoted Si Ta, a deputy head of the United Front Work Department which handles relations with non-Communists and ethnic and religious minorities, as repeating that the door to talks was always open.

“The Party still has expectations of the Dalai Lama and plenty of patience, but ‘Tibet independence’, ‘half independence’ or ‘covert independence’ are unacceptable,” it paraphrased him as saying in Washington.

Three Taiwan groups, outraged by President Ma Ying-jeou’s comment last week that it was not a good time for the Dalai Lama to visit, plan to invite the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Taiwan for religious purposes, reports said Tuesday.

Kaohsiung County Magistrate Ynag Chiu-hsing on Monday reportedly joined Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in welcoming the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan.

“The majority of Taiwanese support (the) Dalai (Lama)’s visit. We are studying the possibility of inviting world religious leaders, including (the) Dalai (Lama), to attend an inter-faith religious exchange activity which may be called ‘religious United Nations,” Chiu-hsing reportedly said at a meeting of the county government.

On Tuesday DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ying-wen also expressed her welcome to the Dalai Lama.

“The Dalai Lama is a courageous and respectful leader as well as a symbol of hope, freedom and human rights in Tibet. He has fought for the freedom of Tibet and raised world awareness and concerns about the difficulties and challenges facing Tibet today. He is a world-respected religious and political leader,” Tsai said in a statement.

“If the Dalai Lama thinks my invitation would be appropriate, it would be the pleasure of both myself and the DPP to invite him for a visit,” the statement said.

The DPP and the Kaohsiung county and Kaohsiung city governments’ invitations come after Ma said last week that it was not appropriate for Dalai to visit Taiwan at the present moment, apparently for fear that the spiritual leader’s visit would hurt the fast-improving Taipei-Beijing ties.

“Certainly the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan twice as a religious leader. We generally welcome religious leaders from all over the world to visit Taiwan, but I think at the current moment, the timing isn’t appropriate for that,” Ma said last week, when asked at a meeting with foreign correspondents in Taipei about the Tibetan leader’s apparent wish to visit the island for a third time.

The remark by the Beijing-friendly President Ma, who in the past welcomed the Dalai Lama to Taiwan, came as a shock to many Taiwanese people, including Buddhist and political groups.

The Dalai Lama made a historic first trip to Taiwan in March 1997 and visited the island again in 2001, triggering strong reaction from China.

Irked by Ma’s remark, Legislative Caucus of the pro-independence DPP, who forged closer ties with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-exile during their eight-year rule, which ended in May, said they would file a non-binding motion inviting the Tibetan leader. DPP also said Ma’s comments would only create misunderstandings about Taiwan overseas, as well as damage the island’s will to seek democracy and freedom.

“Apparently the decision was another indication of Ma bowing to Beijing’s pressure,” DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang said in a statement last week.

“This again proves that he does not think about Taiwan’s sovereignty. We are suspicious that he is unable adequately to safeguard both Taiwan’s democracy and its sovereignty,” he said.

“I urge the Dalai Lama to drop the idea of visiting Taiwan, because Ma is a ‘puppet emperor’ for Beijing. As long as he is in office, the Dalai Lama cannot possibly be allowed to come here,” DPP parliamentarian Chiu Yi-ying said.

“President Ma rather has the special envoy of a country pointing 1,300 missiles at Taiwan come here than a Nobel Peace Prize winner,” said DPP lawmaker Huang Wei-cher, in a reference to the Nov. 3-7 visit to Taiwan by China’s top cross-straits negotiator Chen Yunlin.

DPP lawmakers contrasted Ma’s recent statements with his words before he took office last May, when he threatened a Taiwanese boycott of the Beijing Olympics over the repression of protests in Tibet.

Even parliamentary speaker Wang Jin-pyng – a senior member of the governing Kuomintang – suggested the president should think again on the issue. If the main emphasis of the Dalai Lama’s visit is on religion, there is no problem, the Kuomintang politician said.

The Presidential Office later retracted Ma’s comments.

“A visit by the Dalai Lama could still be arranged at a proper time in the future,” presidential spokesman Wang Yu-chi said.

Yu-chi said the government has always been concerned about the situation in Tibet and added that Taiwan never received any opinions about the matter from China.

The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama Monday said conditions in Tibet had “not improved at all” since the Olympics Games in Beijing, according to a media report.

The exiled Tibetan leader, currently in Poland on the last leg of his Europe tour, said “the Chinese government carried (out) immense sort of suppression” since demonstrations earlier this year against Beijing’s rule in Tibet, AP reported.

The Dalai Lama said in Tibet “some arrests still continue.”

The demonstrations against Chinese rule in March spread across the whole Tibetan region. China launched a massive crackdown in which Tibetan exile groups say more than 200 Tibetans died and more than 1,000 people have been detained.

China last month refused to answer questions from a United Nations human rights panel about the alleged torture and disappearance of dissidents, or provide official figures on the mistreatment of detainees in its prisons.

The UN Committee Against Torture, in its concluding observations of China’s report on its adherence to the UN Convention against Torture, expressed in its section on Tibet deep concern about allegations of “longstanding reports of torture, beatings, shackling and other abusive treatment, in particular of Tibetan monks and nuns, at the hands of public officials, public security and state security, as well as paramilitary and even unofficial personnel at the instigation or with the acquiescence or consent of public officials.”

The Committee also asked China to provide, within one year, a response to reports of widespread excessive use of force and other abuses related to the spring demonstrations in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighbouring Tibetan prefectures and counties.

China, however, rebuffed the allegations and called the UN torture report an “untrue and unprofessional outcome,” saying it had prejudiced and politicized its members.

The Dalai Lama was speaking Monday in the Polish city of Krakow, where he received the Honoris Causa doctorate from Jagiellonian University.

According to a Polish online news site, Professor Beata Szymanska-Aleksandrowicz of the university’s Institute of Philosophy, nominated the Dalai Lama for the honour.

The University’s Senate agreed to the honourary doctorate in October 2007, thenews.pl reported, adding that the awarding of the honourary degree is based on “the Dalai Lama’s high ethical standards in social and public life as observed in his inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and non-violent fight for freedom and rights for Tibetans”.

Szymanska-Aleksandrowicz, in her speech upon bestowing the degree, reportedly stated that the “honourary doctorate is not only an expression of recognition for one man, whose whole life has been about living truth and ideals, but for all those who remain anonymous but have acted in the name of higher ethical standards and work for the moral propagation of good and truth.”

The Dalai Lama has, according to the professor, joined a long tradition of the University of bestowing honours upon known figures such as John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

Upon acceptance of the honour, the Dalai Lama reportedly told his audience that Poles have a special place in his heart – from the moment he heard about Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement, he has been interested in Poland.

“Poles survived many difficult states in their history, but the Polish nation has kept its heart adamant,” His Holiness was quoted as saying by the online news site.

The Dalai Lama’s ongoing Europe tour and his Saturday meeting with the President Sarkozy of France have left China fuming. In protest Beijing canceled a long-planned China-EU summit and has told France to face serious consequences in diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama urged the world to remain firm when dealing with China. He said, in order to protect the long-term interests of the Chinese people, world must not hesitate to raise human right issues with Beijing Government.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy defied China on Saturday by meeting the Dalai Lama and said Europe shared the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader’s concerns over the situation in his homeland.

China called the meeting an “opportunistic, rash and short-sighted approach to handling the Tibet issue,” despite Sarkozy saying he regarded Tibet as part of China and that there was no need to “dramatize” his encounter.

“The meeting went very well … The Chinese authorities knew perfectly well this meeting would take place before the end of the year,” Sarkozy told reporters after his talks, which lasted about 30 minutes.

China called off a summit with the European Union last Monday in protest against Sarkozy’s plan to meet the Dalai Lama, branded by Beijing as a “splittist” for advocating self-determination for his mountain homeland.

On Saturday, China condemned the meeting. “This development is indeed an unwise move which not only hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, but also undermines Sino-French ties,” its official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.

“The French side … took an opportunistic, rash and short-sighted approach to handling the Tibet issue.”


Sarkozy said the Dalai Lama, who welcomed him by draping a ‘kata’ or traditional Tibetan white scarf on his shoulder, had said at the meeting that he does not seek independence for Tibet. “I told him how much importance I attach to the pursuit of dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities.”

Asked about the situation in Tibet, Sarkozy said: “The Dalai Lama shared with me his worries, worries which are shared in Europe. We have had a wide discussion of this question.” The Dalai Lama and other supporters of Tibetan self-rule say China is strangling the mountain region’s cultural and religious traditions and subordinating Tibetans to an influx of Han Chinese migrants and investment, charges Beijing rejects.

STAYING CALM

The two met in the Polish port of Gdansk where they joined 25th anniversary celebrations of Polish pro-democracy leader Lech Walesa’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Playing down any possible negative impact on Sino-French ties, Sarkozy said: “There is no need to dramatize things.”

Beijing’s unusually vocal criticism of Sarkozy’s plan to meet the Dalai Lama is linked to the fact that Paris holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, diplomats say.

In Paris, an official said there had been no sign yet of any Chinese boycott of French products. The EU is China’s biggest trade partner and supermarket chain Carrefour employs tens of thousands of people in China and is the biggest purchaser of Chinese goods in France.

French companies were subjected to Chinese boycotts and demonstrations earlier this year after the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay was disrupted by anti-China protesters.

Earlier on Saturday, the Dalai Lama called for dialogue and compassion to solve the world’s problems.

“Warfare failed to solve our problems in the last century, so this century should be a century of dialogue,” he told delegates, including Walesa, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The Dalai Lama, who met Tusk privately on Saturday, praised Polish courage in resisting past oppression.

The 73-year-old monk is a popular figure in Poland, where some see in his struggle with China’s communist authorities echoes of their own battles under Walesa against Soviet-backed communist rule that ended in 1989.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959 after a failed insurrection against Chinese rule in Tibet, occupied by People’s Liberation Army troops from 1950.

At a press conference held this afternoon, the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament reiterated its support for the ‘Middle Way’ – the policy being pursued by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in its negotiations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Opening the press conference, the Tibet Intergroup President, Mr. Thomas Mann MEP, spoke of the need to maintain a spirit of dialogue. The participation of over thirty members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and five hundred officials in a fast to coincide with the visit of the Dalai Lama to the European Parliament represented a “great success”

Mr. Mann went on to express his hope that the French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, would use his forthcoming meeting with the Dalai Lama in Gdansk, Poland, on 6 December 2008 to show that the European Union would not give in to Beijing.

Echoing Mr. Mann’s comments, Ms. Eva Lichtenberger told journalists that she was “delighted” by the support the fast has received and called on members of the European institutions “to be consistent and clear” in the messages they sent to the PRC.

Ms. Lichtenberger noted that following the Olympic Games in August 2008 the situation for Tibetans had got worse and that the “Tibetan people need our support more than ever before”.

Mr. Marco Cappato MEP pressed for a unified approach to the Tibet issue from the international community. Two stories were being told, Mr. Cappato stated, one of which was true and the other which was not. In such circumstances the international community could not be neutral and had to come out in support of human rights in Tibet, and China as a whole.

Before opening the conference to questions, Mr. MacMillan-Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament, recalled his own visit to the PRC in 1996 and the subsequent detention by the Chinese authorities of those individuals with whom he had met. He believed that the timing of the fast was therefore “very significant” and it was crucial that the European Union remained committed to maintaining pressure on the PRC.

Answering questions from the assembled press, members of the Intergroup expressed their belief that the fast was an important sign, and one of which the Chinese authorities would take note. Mr. Cappato stated that the fast “means something for the Chinese” – going on to say that Beijing’s cancellation of the EU-China summit was in itself a demonstration of the value Beijing placed upon such symbolic acts.

Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama (C), addresses the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, December 4, 2008. Dalai Lama is on two-day visit in Belgium.

Exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama (C), addresses the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, December 4, 2008. Dalai Lama is on two-day visit in Belgium.