Stanley's blog

The European Parliament emergency debate yesterday on Tibet began with a tough statement by President Hans-Geert Pöttering, continued with two measured statements on behalf of the Council and Commission, and followed by a series of all-party diatribes by MEPs. We were treated to the same inaccurate presentation of alleged facts that we have become accustomed to from the European media, with one or two notable exceptions.

At this point, many readers will write me off as an apologist for China, which I am not. I write as a believer in the importance of the European-China relationship and an advocate of dialogue.

While all violence was condemned, no speaker made clear that the troubles began with Tibetans rioting, burning, pillaging and murdering Han Chinese. There was a fundamental contradiction in most of the contributions. Much was rightly made of there being no reliable information as foreign journalists were banned; but a series of ‘facts’ were asserted, supporting the condemnation of Chinese conduct. Where did these ‘facts’ come from? Presumably Tibetan exiles who were hardly likely to be objective.

There was no express condemnation of the behaviour of the Tibetans. There was no recognition of the right of the authorities to use force to stop the rioting. There was an assumption that excessive force was used by the Chinese.

As the post of 20 March indicated, the only trustworthy reporting was that of James Miles of ‘The Economist’ who was coincidentally in Lhasa from 12 to 19 March. There was a news blackout after he left. It is clear that heavy Chinese military reinforcements were sent to Lhasa, but no reliable reports on how the Chinese authorities quelled the riots.

The note of the plenary published on Parliament’s website was sanitised.

Set out below is a selection of unsubstantiated assertions made during the debate:

  • There was a disproportionate use of military force.
  • Hundreds of Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese.
  • Can athletes compete while the host state is killing its own citizens?
  • In Beijing we don’t want athletes with blood on their feet
  • Can we shake hands with officials with murder on their hands?
  • The Olympic Games under a dictatorship are a political event. Remember 1936.
  • The EU must refuse to attend the opening ceremony while hundreds are being arrested every day.
  • Everyday, more and more magazines are being closed.
  • China is a brutal communist dictatorship.
  • We must defeat the China hegemony or see the end of the free world.
  • The Olympic spirit died in the Tibetan genocide.

This debate did not show the European Parliament at its best.

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  1. This resembles the 1980 Moscow games and the 1984 Los Angeles games. Both were boycotted by political reasons and I do not think that the boycott served any of its political aims. Hungary – like other East Bloc countries – did not participate in the 1984 Olympic Games. Some great sportsmen and sportswomen could not compete for the medals that they were preparing for in their young adulthood, and their supporters could not enjoy the Olympic games. I think this made more harm to those who boycotted the event than to the other party. I suppose that any other form of protest from EU or its member states would cost more, and this form of protest will not make a difference.

  2. Immediately after Wednesday’s plenary debate on Tibet at the European Parliament, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Karma Chophel, had an opportunity to discuss with Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee the current crisis in his country, the broad objectives of Tibetans for the future and what stance the EU should adopt. […] On the general question of sanctions, Mr Chophel emphasised the TGE’s view that “China should not be marginalised”. It was thus against a boycott of the Olympic Games and against economic sanctions, its broad line being “the more China is involved in the world, the more it will have to respect international norms”.

    It seems to me that the representative of the Tibetan exile government had the moderate voice in the debate.

    EP: Tibetan parliamentary speaker says EU should press China to defuse crisis

  3. China has been caught out yet again.
    There is incontrovertible evidence that China started, incited and carried out the rioting, looting, larceny and beatings in Lhasa. Just as they have done many times before, in order to discredit the peacefully demonstrating Tibetan monks!

    You won/t get this in the so called “free press” oh no, the west is to busy kowtowing to the murderous cabal in Beijing and running the official CCP propaganda lies that Tibet always was a part of China and that the bad, bad monks carried out the riots instigated by the ‘Dalai Lama clique’.

    There is so much trade at stake and we rather prostitute ourselves and abandon all principles than make a stand and call a spade a spade and forsake the blood tarnished trade with China for the purported priciples of what we stand for and believe in.

    Perverse as it is but the world will go to Beijing in August and close both eyes to the atrocities and Lies of the most heinous regime of all times. This is the 21st century and they behave as though in the dark ages.

    Thanks to the internet and rightfully minded people we can get the facts and independent truths, we don’t need apologists and realpolitik, which is just another word for prostitution.

  4. Cardano sadly proves my point.
    “There is incontrovertible evidence that China started, incited and carried out the rioting, looting, larceny and beatings in Lhasa”
    What evidence?
    James Miles of ‘The Economist’, who was there, writes incontovertibly that the Tibetans attacked the shops of, and killed, Han Chinese.

  5. Funnily this proves my point, if you’re relying on mainstream media then you’re really flying blind.
    And how did James Miles ‘know’ that the culprits were actually all Tibetan, and not Chinese in disguise, as has been numerously reported.
    It is of course very difficult and nigh impossible to just go and personally verify these allegation, but they have been made by enough reliable sources that they deserve better than be the butt of some ill placed sarcasm.
    These events have to be viewed in light of a brutally suppressed country for over 60 years.
    I wonder how Stanley would react if say his little country still were occupied by Nazi Germany and viciously suppressed and subjugated. Perhaps he, or say his children or grandchildren would be out there rioting at the first opportunity that comes along to be part of a crowd that is doing likewise and the eyes of the world is focussing on your little country for once.

    Of course political beliefs are like religion, and once you’ve subjugated your mind to a doctrine you become scared to even cast your curiosity beyond the bounds of your entrenched comfort zone. People who don’t dare to investigate and weigh up differing views, opinions and knowledge have really intellectually died and become slaves to their meme.
    Now here are some links for those who dare to find out what really goes on:

  6. HELLO just a very short – most likely – a simple remark
    anyway – the us-administration should really deeply re-think the various aspects of their tibet-china strategy.
    the dalai-lama was asked in an recent interview, why he does not support the idea of an independent tibet – his answer was “independence is to risky” what ever this means..
    – of course mr.bush will attend the opening ceremony of the olympic games. probably mr.bernake could give you further details about mr.bush decision!
    I am very convinced – sooner or later – of course I hope very soon, the tibetans will get the right for self determination for their country!
    hopefully we will hear at least some positive signs from the eu-delegation for strategic talks on trade and commers which will travel to bejing, soon

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