Thursday, August 17, 2006

UK Parliamentary Committee Says China's Assertion on HHDL Is Not True

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom has said that "the Chinese assertion that the Dalai Lama advocates Tibetan independence flies in the face of public statements made by the Dalai Lama."

It has recommended that the British Government continue to press the Chinese Government on the issue of the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.

This conclusion and recommendation are contained in the seventh report of the Committee that was made public in July 2006. The report was compiled after committee members visited Tibet and China, met Chinese and British government officials and heard from expert witnesses as well as from the Office of Tibet in London.

The Committee has said "freedom of religious belief and worship in Tibet remains significantly restricted."

Further, it said that China's appointment of a Panchen Lama "is a serious abuse of the right of freedom of religion" and has recommended that the British Government press China to respect the right of the Tibetan religious leaders in choosing the next incarnation.

In response to a question by a Committee member on the British Government's views on Tibet, Rt Hon Margaret Beckett, a Member of the House, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said, "We are also seeking to use what I think is a degree of goodwill and mutual confidence that we are gradually building up with the Chinese Government to encourage political dialogue and try to encourage from all quarters an approach of trying to identify a greater degree of common ground so that there can be a more peaceful approach and peaceful settlement in the area of Tibet."

The Foreign Affairs Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the administration, expenditure and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its associated agencies.