Geneva: The Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Committee of the German Parliament issued a “Declaration on the Signing of the 17-point Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Representatives of then Tibetan Government 70 years ago” highlighting the violent repression and systematic human rights violations being carried out in Tibet by China for the last 70 years.
The statement was issued on 19 May coinciding with China’s propagandistic claims of 70 years of liberation whereas it was 70 years of oppression in Tibet. The Declaration was issued with votes from the governing CDU / CSU and SPD, and opposition parties FDP and Alliance 90 / The Greens.
The Declaration highlighted the military occupation of Tibet by China and noted that the agreement was forced upon the Tibetans under military pressure. The very first paragraph of the Declaration highlights, “On May 23, 1951, the signing of the controversial 17-point agreement ended the de facto independence of Tibet. The signing of the agreement was also forced upon under pressure from the Chinese military that had occupied Tibet in previous years, beginning in 1949.”
The Declaration is of great significance as it counters the Chinese propaganda and lays down the historical facts including the brutal suppression of the Tibetan National Uprising in March 1959 which forced His Holiness the Dalai Lama into exile. The Declaration further points out how China has breached its own agreement which promised autonomy and guaranteed protection of religious beliefs but only brought forced assimilation, Sinicization and destruction of monasteries and violation of the fundamental freedom to practice ones’ own religion. It notes, “Today the culture, traditional way of life, language, identity and religion of the Tibetans are threatened. Contrary to the treaty, the Tibetan political system has been completely abolished. The 17-point agreement only served to expand the power of the Chinese Communist Party, not for peaceful and equal coexistence.”
In contradistinction to violent repression by China, the Declaration applauds the “Middle Way” policy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as an “is an opportunity to avoid possible future conflicts” and has expressed The Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Committee of the German Parliament has complete support “the non-violent path of the Tibetan people to express their will for self-determination.”
The Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Committee of the German Parliament has expressed harsh criticism against systematic human rights violations by China. The committee has called upon the Chinese government to “immediately end the repression against the Tibetan people and to resume dialogue with the legitimate representatives of the Tibetans.” The Committee has called upon the international community to support the Tibetans and noted that “peaceful resistance of the Tibetan people against the deliberate deprivation of rights urgently needs more attention and support worldwide.”
The Committee has concluded its statement with a commitment to “repeatedly address these human rights violations and to vehemently demand an improvement in the human rights situation in China.”
The President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr. Lobsang Sangay has welcomed this important Declaration by the Committee and noted, “China may try to build a false narrative but the truth can never be suppressed. The 17-Point agreement which was coerced upon the Tibetans under the threat of large-scale military suppression has unleashed decades of violent repression and destruction in Tibet. We thank the Human Rights Committee of German Parliament for standing up for Tibetans’ human rights and for echoing our stand that Tibet was never part of China and dialogue under middle way policy should be the way ahead for China.”
Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration for Central and Eastern Europe from Tibet Bureau Geneva, Representative Chhimey Rigzen sent a letter of gratitude to each members of the Committee thanking them for voting in support of the Declaration.
The Declaration in German language can be accessed here. A rough unofficial English translation is available here.