Agam's Gecko
Thursday, March 27, 2008

rench President Nicolas Sarkozy has informed Chinese President Hu Jintao of his "deep distress" at recent events in Tibet, and called for an end to violence, and the start of a dialogue. France is willing to facilitate the resumption of dialogue, he said on March 25 in Tarbes, France.
"Our Chinese friends must understand the worldwide concern that there is about the question of Tibet, and I will adapt my response to the evolutions in the situation that will come, I hope, as rapidly as possible."

"I have an envoy who spoke to the authorities who are closest to the Dalai Lama," Sarkozy said, according to AP. "I want dialogue to begin, and I will gauge my response based on the response that the Chinese authorities give."
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had said in an earlier press briefing that an investigation is required.
"Obviously, there must be an investigation into what has happened... But there is one initial international inquiry that ought to be made--by journalists. Journalists don't have access, and they must have access to the territory in question--to Tibet in particular but not just there since there are incidents apparently beyond Tibet. So that seems to me to be an obvious necessity since our Chinese friends have recognized the universality of human rights. Well, the right to information has to be respected."
Mr. Kouchner does not believe his Chinese counterpart, who insists Dalai Lama instigated the entire thing.
"I had a message this morning from my Chinese counterpart, Mr. Yang. He says that order has been restored and that the whole thing, all these events, was orchestrated, and he's accusing the Dalai Lama. I leave him to his opinion obviously, and I take note of this information. The Dalai Lama is not a man to spread disorder and confrontation. I know him well enough to say the opposite. In all the years we've known each other, he's always displayed a very peaceful view of matters. I would remind you that the Dalai Lama has never demanded Tibet's independence."
On a proposed Olympic opening ceremony boycott, Kouchner reminded reporters that China has boycotted Olympics too, and not just opening ceremonies:
"The proposal is less negative than a general boycott. May I remind you that I took part in a boycott in 1980 for the Olympic Games in Moscow. I just want to point out that then the boycott included about 50 countries, China being one of them. China boycotted the Moscow Games in 1980 at the time of the events in Afghanistan."
The Americans had been relying on quiet channels to influence the Chinese leaders, while the Secretary of State has made some statements in recent days calling for China to sit down with Dalai Lama for some genuine discussion -- notably alongside the Indian Foreign Minister. President Bush telephoned Beijing yesterday and "sharply confronted" President Hu over Tibet.
In a telephone call with Hu, Bush "pushed very hard" about violence in Tibet, a necessity for restraint and a need for China to consult with representatives of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, the White House said....

As if to underscore how pointed Bush was, the White House said he used the call to "speak very clearly and frankly."
At the current meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the body has held special sessions only on small countries (Israel, Burma), while Beijing evades the same level of attention.
The Council, which ends its four-week long session on Friday, will begin adopting a series of resolutions on Thursday, none of which will mention the situation in Tibet...

During Tuesday's meeting in Geneva, the European Union, the United States, Switzerland, Australia and Canada made declarations about the situation in Tibet.
UNHR Council replaced the old toothless UNHR Commission in 2006. Human Rights Watch spokesman Julie de Rivero said, "China was untouchable by the Human Rights Commission, it remains untouchable by the Council."

The President of the European Parliament has invited Dalai Lama to address the legislature earlier than his scheduled address later this year, if he so chooses.
Opening an emergency debate on events in Tibet, Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said to applause: "I put it to this house to join with me in saying that the Dalai Lama is welcome in this house whenever he wants to come."


"I genuinely say that all politicians must ask themselves whether they can attend the opening ceremony if China fails to take part in dialogue," Poettering said...
Dalai Lama should also be invited to address the UN General Assembly. China has succeeded in keeping him away from anything remotely connected with the UN, including even commemorative books published by UNICEF. It's time for that to change. If they can welcome Yasser Arafat, they can certainly receive Dalai Lama above Chinese objections.

RFA Unplugged has more reactions to the crisis from within China and elsewhere, from listeners to their Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese language services. This one I liked, from a CCP member:
"I once believed what the officials told us about [the Tiananmen crackdown on] June 4th, 18 years ago. After this long period of time, I see it more clearly … [The Communist Party] is only a machine full of lies and violence. Like us, the Tibetans only pursue freedom. We should support the Tibetans." –Chinese Communist Party member working in a state-owned enterprise, speaking with RFA Cantonese service, March 26, 2008
More Chinese need to speak out on behalf of rights and democracy, rather than withdrawing into hyper-nationalism and age-old imperial attitudes. It's obviously in there, but it takes some courage to express it in public. It was there 19 years ago, and it was inspiring. I'm sure it's still there, and Tibetans are dying to hear it. Please.

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