In recent years, parliaments and governments around the world have begun to take action on behalf of Tibet. A representative selection of some of the major resolutions and motions that have been passed is given below. (Statements on Tibet from the British Government and the US Senate and Congress are included in separate TSG Information Sheets.)
A resolution was passed urging the Chinese Government to respect the rights of the Tibetan people to religious and cultural freedom, and suggesting that the Dalai Lama's Five-Point Peace Plan could provide the basis for a settlement of the Tibetan issue.
A resolution was passed deploring the loss of life in recent disturbances in Lhasa, condemning the subsequent violent repression, and calling for the lifting of martial law. The European Parliament urged the Chinese Government to hold discussions with the Dalai Lama on the future of Tibet, and called on Beijing to respect the autonomous status of Tibet as defined within the framework of the Chinese Constitution.
The Sub-Committee for Human Rights of the Political Affairs Committee of the European Parliament held a hearing on Tibet which was addressed by the Dalai Lama. At a meeting following the hearing, the decision was made to appoint a special rapporteur.
A Resolution from the Political Affairs Committee condemned human rights violations in Tibet and called for the release of political prisoners, an end to torture, executions and intimidation, the cessation of environmental degradation, an immediate reversal of the policy of population transfer, an end to discrimination against Tibetans in health and education, and constructive dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government.
A resolution was passed calling for the release of those people detained for practising religion or peacefully advocating the establishment of democratic rights, and expressing concern at prison conditions.
A resolution was passed calling for the immediate release of all Tibetan political prisoners. The Chinese Government was also urged to allow the Red Cross to visit prisons and communicate with prisoners.
A resolution was passed condemning human rights violations in Tibet, and demanding the release of all political prisoners. It called for an immediate end to environmental degradation, economic exploitation, discrimination against Tibetans, and Chinese immigration into Tibet. The European Parliament expressed regret that the Dalai Lama's efforts to bring about negotiations had come to nothing, and urged the resumption of talks. between the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and Beijing. A request was made that the granting of aid to China be conditional on the observance of human rights and freedoms, and that EC-funded projects in Tibet should serve the needs of the Tibetan community.
A resolution was passed deploring the brutal suppression of recent demonstrations in Lhasa, and calling for the immediate release of all prisoners not charged with an internationally recognised crime (these included Gendun Rinchen, Lobsang Yonten and Damchoe Pemo). The European Parliament regretted that the Dalai Lama's planned address to the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna was cancelled after Chinese pressure.
A resolution passed without a vote called on the Chinese authorities to release all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The European Parliament declared its support for the "courageous activities" of Gendun Rinchen, and suggested that the Olympic Games should not be held in Beijing in the year 2000 unless progress were made in ensuring respect for human rights.
On the eve of sending a delegation to Beijing, the European Parliament passed a resolution declaring that its relations with China would only be normalised if Beijing provided information about political prisoners in China and Tibet.
Member States of the EC submitted a Resolution to the UN Commission on Human Rights voicing their grave concern at continuing reports of human rights violations in Tibet, and calling on the Chinese Government to take measures to ensure the full observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Tibetan people.
A delegation of ambassadors from EC Member States to Tibet requested information about Gendun Rinchen and Lobsang Yonten, who were arrested for trying to contact them, and asked to see them in prison. After its week-long visit, the delegation issued a joint declaration which stated that relations between the Chinese and Tibetans in Tibet were poor; that official figures claiming just 3% of the population of Tibet were ethnic Chinese were understated; that the use of Chinese in official documents was a barrier to the advancement of Tibetans; that schooling in Tibetan was not always available and mat there was a large rate of non-attendance among Tibetans; and that although religious activity was not suppressed and the renovation of religious sites was very much in evidence, there were considerable doubts as to whether religion received the freedom of action and funding at an organisational level needed to achieve its full potential as a fundamental part of the Tibetan culture.
Note: Damchoe Pemo was reported to have been released in November 1993, although this has not yet been confirmed. Gendun Rinchen and Lobsang Yonten were both released in January 1994.
In written declaration no. 173 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 13 members appealed to the Chinese Government "to promote the peace process in Tibet, respecting the human rights of the Tibetan people, [their] culture and civilisation."
The Bundestag unanimously passed a resolution calling for the Chinese authorities to respect human rights in Tibet, to respond to the Dalai Lama's attempts to achieve constructive dialogue, to take steps to preserve Tibetan
culture and religion, and to release all political prisoners. The resolution also urged the West German Government to provide aid for Tibetan refugees, and to grant scholarships for Tibetans to study in German schools and Universities.
The Bundestag unanimously passed a resolution calling on the German Government to raise the subject of the human rights situation in Tibet at the United Nations, urging the Chinese Government to lift martial law in Tibet, and supporting efforts to send an independent international commission to investigate Tibet's human rights situation.
The Commission of Foreign Affairs approved a motion urging the Italian Government to make enquiries into the current situation in Tibet, to undertake action to put an end to human rights violations and environmental damage, and to come to a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan problem, while at the same time safeguarding Chinese foreign policy and defence interests.
Deputies of the Lithuanian Supreme Council established a Tibetan Parliamentary Support Group, and Members of Parliament signed a statement acknowledging His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile as the true representatives of the nation of Tibet.
A memorandum signed by 212 MPs, including one government minister, was presented to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, "fully supporting the Dalai Lama's Five-Point Peace Plan, which is an historic step towards resolving the important question of Tibet, alleviating the suffering of the Tibetan people and relieving regional tensions."
There are now All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Tibet registered in the following countries: Australia, Britain, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Lithuania.
Ninety-five Members of Parliament signed a petition marking the 30th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, and called for human rights to be respected and for the People's Republic of China to respond constructively to the Dalai Lama's proposals for discussions.
The Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Chinese Government to recognize the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Tibetan people, and to enter into negotiations with the Dalai Lama. The Senate also called on the Australian Government to continue making representations to China on allegations of human rights abuse in Tibet.
The Senate unanimously passed the following resolution timed to coincide with the visit of Chinese leader Qiao Shi, and proposed by Australian Democrats Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Senator Vicki Bourne.
(a) notes that, during the week beginning 6 November 1994, the Chairman of China's National People's Congress, Mr Qiao Shi, is on an official State visit to Australia;
(b) recognizes that during the 1989 pro-democracy protests, Mr Qiao Shi served as head of China 's security services;
(c) expresses its concern that the human rights situation in Tibet appears to have deteriorated and that the Tibetan people continue to be denied their fundamental human rights and freedom;
(d) endorses the representations made by the Australian Government and by members of this Parliament to the People's Republic of China on human rights abuses in Tibet;
(e) urges the Chinese Government to recognize the fundamental human rights and freedom of the Tibetan people and to enter into genuine dialogue, without preconditions, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a view to achieving a long-term solution in Tibet;
(f) calls on Australian Government Ministers to continue raising issues of human rights and the situation in Tibet in their discussions with representatives of the Chinese Government and to ensure that they understand the depth of the Australian community's feelings about these matters; and
(g) requests from the Chinese Government a commitment that it will not deny visas to exiled Tibetan women from any part of the world who wish to attend the United Nations World Conference on Women which is due to be held in Beijing in 1995.
The Senate unanimously passed the following resolution similarly timed to coincide with the visit of Chinese leader Qiao Shi, and proposed by Senator Margaret Reid:
(a) calls for the immediate release of the Gari Fourteen, a group of Buddhist nuns from Gari nunnery, who are detained within the Chinese prison system in Tibet;
(b) notes reports that these young nuns and other Tibetan political prisoners are subjected to routine torture, are used as forced labour and have limited access to medical treatment;
(c) acknowledges that whilst it is alleged that twelve of the nuns were arrested for taking part in a pro-independence rally on 14 June 1993, there are no witnesses to a rally that day, and no evidence exists that it ever occurred; and
(d) calls on the leaders of the People's Republic of China to comply with both the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention Against Torture.
[See A TC News December 1994, p. 3]