EU Sidesteps Human Rights to Promote Trade, Says Kalon Lobsang Nyandak
The European Union is sidestepping human rights to promote trade with China, Kalon Lobsang Nyandak Zayul has said.
Although the Kalon for the Departments of Finance and Information & International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration appreciated the numerous resolutions passed by the European Parliament against China’s oppression of Tibetan activists, he described the position of the European Commission as “very dissatisfying”.
“For the European Commission, trade is the top priority as of now,” The Economist quoted the Kalon as saying. “The moral issues of human rights and freedom have taken a back seat even though the human rights dialogue is being continued with the Chinese counterpart.”
While the Kalon supported the fostering of close political and economic relations between the EU and Beijing, he said that the EU must not make human rights concerns subordinate to them.
“If we mix diplomacy with human rights, then problems of human rights can never be solved. If governments are not courageous enough to take up the issue of human rights, when gross violations occur, then exercises of exchanging delegations are just a gimmick.”
Although China has released some Tibetan detainees in recent years, the Kalon noted that 150 political prisoners remain in Tibetan jails, adding that the whereabouts of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima still remain unknown, ten years after the then six-year-old boy was named the 11th Panchen Lama by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Comments of the Kalon were dismissed by a spokesman for China’s EU embassy, saying “The Chinese government has made a lot of effort to improve the life and economic development of the Tibetan population and has also paid a lot of attention to human rights problems.”
“The Chinese policy has always been the same on Tibet: the door to negotiations is open.”
The European Commission’s President JosÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© Manuel Barroso, who visited Beijing this week, is reported to have urged political reforms, citing that democratic progress is necessary to sustain China’s economic growth.