Europeans expressed concerns about human rights in Tibet but have not found a way to protect individual member states from Chinese bullying when politicians meet with the Dalai Lama.
In 2012, tensions continued between the EU and China over visits to Europe by the Dalai Lama and the human-rights situation in Tibet, including cultural and religious rights. The European Parliament continued its active stance through a resolution requesting the creation of a special envoy for Tibet. High Representative Catherine Ashton didn’t act on the suggestion but spoke clearly about the “deteriorating situation in Tibet”. The Dalai Lama met with the British prime minister, the Austrian chancellor and foreign minister, and the president of the Belgian Senate. However, in Italy there were no political meetings and political pressure even prevented the city of Milan from awarding the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship. As expected, China retaliated against those countries that held political meetings with the Dalai Lama. In particular, it cancelled a visit to the UK by a top Chinese official and high-level political relations between the two countries remain frozen. However, the UK does not seem to be considering apologising or issuing a statement drafted by the Chinese, as other countries such as France and Denmark have done. But Europeans have still not found a way to protect individual member states from Chinese bullying.
Several EU member states also raised concerns about the state of human rights in Tibet at the UNHRC in June. The most vocal were Denmark in its role as rotating president, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK. Latvia took issue with China on Tibet when the Chinese defence minister visited. Comments by Prime Minister Petr Nečas also prompted a debate in the Czech Republic about human-rights policy. During former leader Vaclav Havel’s lifetime, Czech politicians had always made a point of meeting with the Dalai Lama. But at a trade fair in Brno in September, Nečas criticised the Dalai Lama and said that publicly supporting such “fashionable” causes could have “consequences for our exports”. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said it was a “horrifying” mistake.
|Leaders: Czech Republic - Germany - Sweden
|Slackers: Italy - Latvia - Malta - Portugal - Romania