Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament, has indicated his deep displeasure with Foreign Secretary David Miliband, on the fiftieth anniversary of China’s occupation of Tibet. In October the Foreign Secretary presented a written ministerial statement outlining the Government’s position:
"The Dalai Lama has made clear that he is not seeking separation or independence. He has said repeatedly that he is seeking a resolution to the situation of Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution, a point he made explicitly in an interview with the Financial Times on 24 May during his visit to the United Kingdom. He said: he was “not seeking separation, not seeking independence, but within the framework of the Chinese constitution, meaningful realistic autonomy [for Tibetans]”. He has maintained a clear opposition to violence.
We have made clear to the Chinese Government, and publicly, that we do not support Tibetan independence. Like every other EU member state, and the United States, we regard Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. Our interest is in long-term stability, which can only be achieved through respect for human rights and greater autonomy for the Tibetans."
Mr McMillan-Scott, who has a longstanding interest in Tibet, comments:
“The world must not forget this tragic, beautiful and occupied country. The way that Beijing has treated Tibet since its occupation in 1959 rightly remains an international scandal.
Tibet deserves independence from China as it is culturally, ethnically and geographically distinct. I look forward to the EU taking a tougher line on the so-called ‘talks’ on Tibet’s future between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s representative.
Instead of giving the EU a lead, given Britain’s earlier role in Tibet, David Miliband’s treacherous statement last November fatally undermines the position of most Tibetans, who are desperate for freedom.
At a stroke he condemned a nation. It is lamentable that the British government should mark the 50th anniversary of international abandonment of this unique and spiritual people by effectively conceding to Beijing. This is a new low point in British foreign policy.”