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Thursday, 6 July 2000 - Strasbourg

European Parliament resolution on the Western China Poverty Reduction Project and the future of Tibet

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Tibet,

A.  considering the lack of progress in the EU-China human rights dialogue,

B.  whereas on 7 July 2000 the World Bank is expected to take a final decision on its support for the Western China Poverty Reduction Project,

C.  recalling that Tibet was invaded and occupied in 1949 and 1950 by the Chinese armed forces,

D.  recalling that, whilst the 'seventeen-point agreement' signed in Beijing under duress by the Tibetan authorities sanctioned the annexation of Tibet by the People's Republic of China, it also guaranteed Tibet's full autonomy and, in particular, the continuity of its political system and full respect for religious freedom,

E.  recalling the Lhasa uprising against the Beijing regime on 10 March 1959, which resulted in the deaths and imprisonment of thousands of Tibetans and the exile of the Dalai Lama and tens of thousands of other Tibetans,

F.  recalling the establishment in 1965 of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) by the Beijing authorities and considering that no genuine autonomy has existed there since China occupied the country,

G.  recalling the repeated attempts at restarting the dialogue with the Beijing authorities made by the Dalai Lama, notably through the 'five-point plan' presented to the US Congress in 1987 and the 'Strasbourg proposal' presented to the European Parliament in 1988,

H.  concerned that China has shown no readiness to take part in a dialogue to negotiate the future of Tibet,

I.  recalling the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 to the Dalai Lama and his appeal to the international community to encourage a peaceful settlement of the Tibetan question,

J.  recalling Tibet's designation in 1992 as a 'Special Economic Zone' and the resulting large-scale transfer of Chinese settlers to Tibet which, in the space of a few years, has made the Tibetans a minority in their own country,

K.  whereas the proposed Western China Poverty Reduction Project may lead to a further relocation of ethnic Chinese into the Tibetan areas and may violate the World Bank's own policies regarding indigenous peoples, involuntary resettlement and the environment,

1.  Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to do all they can to start up negotiations between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama on a new status for Tibet which guarantees full Tibetan autonomy in all areas of political, economic, social and cultural life, the only exceptions being defence and foreign policy;

2.  Calls on the governments of the Member States to give serious consideration to the possibility of recognising the Tibetan Government in exile as the legitimate representative of the Tibetan people if, within three years, the Beijing authorities and the Tibetan government in exile have not, through negotiations organised under the aegis of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, signed an agreement on a new Statute for Tibet;

3.  Asks the Commission and the Council to urge the World Bank to suspend its decision on the Western China Poverty Reduction Project and to examine all the effects this project could have on Tibet's ethnic, cultural and social balance;

4.  Urges the World Bank to publish the Inspection Panel report and Recommendation on the Western China Poverty Reduction Project before the vote of the World Bank Board;

5.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, 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 Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government and parliament in exile.

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