Times of India, 12 March 2012
DHARAMSHALA: A delegation of Italian parliamentarians, who have come to attend the 53rd national uprising day function of the Tibetans, met the Dalai Lama on Saturday and discussed the Tibet-China issue with him.
Confirming this, members of the Italian delegation, led by Gianni Vernatti, told mediapersons at McLeodganj on Sunday that they have also met Tibetan Prime Minister, Dr Lobsang Sangay, and members of Tibetan parliament and discussed the China-Tibet issue.
“On Saturday, we met His Holiness the Dalai Lama and had a long discussion about Tibet-China relationship. We will go back and make sure that the Italian government, along with the European Union, will put pressure on the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the envoy of Dalai Lama or Central Tibetan Administration,” Vernatti said.
Asked why China would listen to them, he said China needs Europe more than ever before. “We need China, but China also needs us more than ever before. Everything is interdependent and therefore, we hope China will definitely listen to us,” he said.
Addressing Tibetans in presence of the Tibetan spiritual leader at the uprising day function, the delegation members also said that free elections in the Chinese city Wukan is a good sign that China will change.
“To be a trusted and respected China, it has to change and democratise. Until that, China will get support only from some small crazy countries like North Korea, Myanmar or Iraq,” Vernatti observed.
The Italian parliamentarians said they were here in the town to reiterate and commit themselves to do whatever they can do to pressurize China.
“The European Union representatives normally meet Chinese officials twice a year. In such meetings, the Italian government and European Union will take up the matter with China,” said Jean Leonard Touadi, member of foreign affairs commission and first African-Italian member of parliament there.
The seven-member delegation is likely to leave the town on Monday, sources said.