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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Tibet: plans to institue Chinese as the main language of instruction


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Fiorello Provera, Oreste Rossi, Lorenzo Fontana on behalf of the EFD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0637/2010

Proċedura : 2010/2965(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Tibet: plans to institue Chinese as the main language of instruction

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on China and on Tibet,


– having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas, on 19 October 2010, at least 1000 ethnic Tibetan students marched through Tongren, also known as Rebkong, peacefully opposing a plan to establish Mandarin Chinese as the main language of instruction in schools in the region,


B. whereas, on 23 October 2010, the protest spread to Qingai province and Beijing, where 400 Tibetan students studying at Minsu university staged a demonstration,


C. whereas, according to the Associated Press, Chinese police tightened control at a number of minority schools and journalists were prohibited from interviewing students and teachers,


D. whereas Tibetan is an official language in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and in other parts of China where Tibetans have traditionally been the main ethnic group,


E. whereas the rights to use ethnic minority languages are regulated by the Ethnic Minority Region Autonomy Act of the People’s Republic of China, the Education Act of the People’s Republic of China, and the Compulsory Education Act of the People’s Republic of China,


F. whereas in 1987 the Fifth Session of the Fourth "Tibet Autonomous Regional" People's Congress adopted the so-called Some Provisions of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Study, Use and Development of the Spoken and Written Tibetan Language and in 1988 the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's government promulgated the Detailed Rules for the Implementation of Some Provisions of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Study, Use and Development of the Spoken and Written Tibetan Language,


G. whereas in all areas of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government Tibetan language is gradually being replaced by Chinese in schools at different levels, whereas official documents are usually unavailable in Tibetan; whereas changes to education policy would limit the use of Tibetan language in schools, since all textbooks and subjects would be in Mandarin Chinese, except for Tibetan and English-language classes,


H. whereas, despite the claim by Chinese officials that a bilingual teaching system has been adopted in the education sector of Tibet, with priority given to teaching in Tibetan, the Tibetan language is given either 50% weight or no weight at all in university exams,


I. whereas, according to the United Nations, China has 56 officially recognized ethnic groups and over 100 of their languages are in danger of dying out,


J. whereas the 6th International conference of Tibet Support Groups, organised by the Core Group for the Tibetan Cause, opened last Friday in Surajkund near New Delhi in the presence of foreign dignitaries, whereas the Dalai Lama used the occasion to appeal to the international community to consider the Tibetan question, not only as a human rights issue but also in relation to Tibet’s environment and culture,


1. Considers the plan to impose Mandarin Chinese as the main language of instruction in Tibet schools as a violation of cultural and linguistic rights;


2. Calls on the Chinese authorities to implement Article 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and Article 10 of the Law on Regional National Autonomy (LRNA), which guarantee "the freedom of all nationalities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages";


3. Calls on the Commission , the HR/VP and the Member States to urge the Chinese Government:

- to ensure that the right of peaceful expression by the students be respected and that the relevant authorities address their grievances substantively and appropriately,

- to ensure the proper implementation of the 2002 "Regulations on the Study, Use and Development of the Tibetan Language" in accordance with the Law of Regional Ethnic Autonomy;


4. Calls on the Chinese authorities to resume dialogue with HH the Dalai Lama's Envoys, on the basis of the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy, which includes a reference to the issues of language and education;


5. Urges China to ratify without any further delay the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN, 1966); calls on Beijing to establish a moratorium on the death penalty, as called for by UN General Assembly resolution 62/149 of 18 December 2007 on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty;


6. Calls on the HR/VP to meet HH the Dalai Lama at the earliest convenience;


7. Calls on the HR/VP to closely monitor developments and to ensure that the EU adopts a consistent common position and that decisions taken on the basis thereof are duly implemented, and considers that EU diplomatic representatives in Beijing should take the initiative of visiting the region in order to report back to the Council about the current situation;


8. Reiterates, in this regard, its call on the Council to appoint a special envoy for Tibetan issues;


9. Calls on the Chinese authorities to grant urgent medical attention to Mr Dhondup Wangchen, the Tibetan documentary maker sentenced on 28 December 2009 to six years' imprisonment for "subversion" for producing the documentary Leaving Fear Behind, who is suffering from Hepatitis B; urges the Chinese authorities to review Mr Dhondup's sentence through a fair and transparent process;


9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the HR/VP, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments and parliaments of the applicant countries, the President and Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, the President of the Chinese People's National Congress and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.