EU Show of Solidarity With People of Tibet

11 March 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith and his Plaid Cymru colleague, Jill Evans, have reaffirmed their support and solidarity with the people of Tibet and have called for more action to be taken to ensure that a peaceful resolution is found to the situation.

The call by the MEPs corresponds with the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising and a European Parliament resolution on the situation in Tibet.

The uprising, which led to the exile of the Dalai Lama, was followed by the persecution and disappearance of many innocent people and political activists.  Mr Smith and Ms Evans have also congratulated the Dalai Lama on his commitment to a peaceful solution.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Smith said:

"This is an opportunity for the people of Scotland and Wales to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of Tibet. In the fifty years since the uprising that led to the exile of the Dalai Lama, Tibet has suffered attacks to its culture and its heritage, as well as seeing its population persecuted and even disappear at the hands of the Chinese state. We would not tolerate this in Europe, we must not allow it elsewhere.

"We have to take a moment to respect the courage of the Dalai Lama, and his unerring commitment to the use of non-violence in the pursuit for increased autonomy and independence for the region.

"The draft resolution from the Parliament shows the unity from one side of Europe to the other, as well as across the political spectrum on this issue, which I hope can be translated into real pressure to bring about change."

Welsh Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans added:

"The Tibetan uprising of 1959 which led to the death of tens of thousands and forced the Dalai Lama to flee the country must never be forgotten. At the same time, we must look to the future and towards Tibetan autonomy. Tibetans should know that they can count on the European Union for full support in negotiations with China.

"The resolution tabled today by the European Parliament urges the Chinese government for discussions on meaningful change, including allowing media and UN access to the region and releasing all those imprisoned for peaceful protest. I hope that this message gets through and that we see positive developments for the Tibetan people."