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EU urged to send fact-finding mission to Tibet


Brussels : Hundreds of Tibetans Tuesday called on the European Union (EU) to investigate allegations of Chinese repression in their country during a protest held outside the bloc’s headquarters in Brussels.

“We want the EU to help us by sending an investigation team (to Tibet) to verify the facts,” said Songtse, a Belgium-based Tibetan.

The protesters chanted the Tibetan national anthem and prayed for their slain compatriots amid fears that many more might soon be killed by the Chinese authorities.

The protesters also called on the international community to stop the Olympic torch being carried through Tibet.

EU governments and officials have so far turned down calls for the summer Olympic Games in Beijing to be boycotted, arguing that such a boycott would not be the right answer.

Tenzin Norbu, one of about 800 Tibetans currently living in Belgium, accused the Chinese authorities of lying when they said that Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had incited violent protests by phone to Lhasa, the region’s capital.

“The Dalai Lama always told us not to do violence. Blaming him is absolutely wrong,” said Norbu, who was born in Tibet but said he was forced to move to Belgium in 1984 because of Chinese repression.

Belgian anti-riot police stood over the peaceful demonstration, which took place between the headquarters of the European Commission, the EU executive, and of the European Council, which represents the bloc’s 27 national governments in Brussels.

In a statement issued Monday, the Slovenian presidency of the EU expressed deep concern about the ongoing reports of unrest in Tibet and conveyed “its deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims”.

“The EU calls for restraint on all sides. We urge the Chinese authorities to refrain from using force against those involved in unrest and call on demonstrators to desist from violence,” the statement said.

“The EU firmly supports peaceful reconciliation between Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama and his representatives. The EU urges the Chinese government to address the concerns of Tibetans with regard to issues of human rights,” it added.