Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Ban on the elections for the Tibetan government in exile in Nepal

Delivered in Plenary - 7th April 2011

Mr President

Since the abolition of the Nepalese monarchy and the election of a Maoist-led government in Kathmandu, Nepal and China have inevitably grown much closer. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Nepalese authorities prevented Tibetan refugees living in Nepal from voting for a prime minister and a parliament in exile.

Indeed, a similar election plan for last October was disrupted by Nepalese police, undoubtedly in response to pressure from Beijing. The fact that China has sought to interfere with an unofficial election taking place in another sovereign neighbouring state is an indication of its leaders’ contempt for democracy and their paranoia about Tibet.

It is obviously irrelevant to China that time and time again the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, has stressed that he seeks maximum autonomy for Tibet, not independence. I hope that the High Representative – who is not here today – will raise this episode with China and also with Nepal, whose own nascent democracy is kept afloat partly by EU taxpayers’ money in the form of financial aid.

I also wish to take this opportunity to salute the courage, fortitude and peaceful resistance of the Tibetan people whose example is an inspiration to us all. Nepal is indeed in a delicate position, geopolitically and geographically speaking, but it should seek inspiration from its democratic neighbour to the south, India, rather than from the repressive dictatorship which exists to its north, namely the PRC. Democracy will, I hope, one day be the norm throughout the whole of Asia.