By John Quigley
(INEP): In a foreign policy statement adopted at the weekend, the European Parliament (EP) demands action from the Chinese authorities about the case of the Tibetan Buddhist Lama, currently awaiting execution having being found guilty of separatist activities.
After his sentence was deferred for two years, Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche awaits execution later this month. China is urged to commute immediately the death sentence against Rinpoche, impose a moratorium on capital punishment and move towards abolishing the death penalty. Although representatives of the Dalai Lama have met with the Chinese three times since 2002.
The execution of Rinpoche would send a “very negative signal and would have an adverse impact on relations with China” said a representative of the EU’s executive, Commissioner Janez Potocnik.
The EU Parliament’s statement is the second in several months to criticise China’s human rights record in Tibet and to demand a more principled response from Europe’s leaders.
Remarking that “the continued violation of the human rights of the Tibetan people” must stop, the statement explicitly links the lifting of the current EU embargo on arms sales to China to actual progress by Beijing on “improving the human rights situation” and ratifying the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Catherine Stihler, a British Socialist deputy, agreed saying she “strongly supports the continuation of the arms embargo” and that any attempt to lift the ban must be linked to improvements in human rights in China, including civil, political and religious rights in Tibet.
Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche and a colleague Lobsang Dhondup were found guilty of bombings and incitement to separatism by the Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Province in 2002.
Rinpoche’s sentence was suspended for two years but Dhondup was executed in January 2003.
(The India News in Europe Programme (INEP) is a new news service providing news, information and in-depth coverage for Indian media from Brussels.)