Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Tibet

Delivered in Plenary - 24th March 2010

Mr President

the fate of the people of Tibet and their remarkable Buddhist culture remains uppermost in the minds of those of us in this House who believe in human rights.

Since the Communist forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) invaded 61 years ago, Tibetans have faced a systematic suppression of their unique way of life. The mass migration of Han Chinese and the arrival of the high-altitude railway at Lhasa have further consolidated Beijing’s hold on Tibet.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama, from his Indian exile, continues his peaceful campaign to highlight the situation faced by his people. Uighur jihadists have also exploited recent unrest in Tibet to foment their own violence against the Chinese Government.

Tibet should be given the maximum possible autonomy and we know that this is possible under the ‘one country, two systems’ mantra that applies not just to Hong Kong but also to Macao, so why not Tibet?

Beijing will undoubtedly dismiss our concerns in this Parliament as an unwarranted intrusion into their internal affairs, but a fresh and more relaxed approach to Tibet by the PRC could well pay dividends for China’s internal security as well as its external image in the world.

I would also like to add my voice to those who deeply regret today the fact that there is no presence from the Council or from the rotating Spanish Presidency, or that the High Representative for Foreign Affairs is not present.