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2008-2009 Tibet in Parliament PDF Print E-mail
Details and links of when and how Tibet has been raised in the UK parliament during the parliamentary session 2008-2009 (commenced 3 December 2008, ended 12 November 2009).

Index
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3 November 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Human Rights
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to (a) (i) monitor and (ii) witness the trial of the Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen who has been in detention in Tibet since March 2008 and (b) establish his medical condition.

Chris Bryant: We are aware of Dhondup Wangchen’s case. We are concerned about his well-being following his continued detention pending a trial, and about the conditions of his detention. His case was raised at the EU/China Human Rights Dialogue in Prague on 14 May 2009, where his name was included on an individual case list. On this the EU side asked for clarification as to the whereabouts and the grounds of his detention, as well as for his release. Most recently, my hon. Friend, Ivan Lewis, Minister of State for the Middle East and the Far East, also raised this case during his trip to Lhasa and Beijing in September, reiterating our concerns for his safety and welfare. The Chinese response was to inform us of the nature of his arrest, that the relevant Chinese authority raised charges against him and that his case was under judicial proceedings. We will continue to raise this case at every appropriate opportunity.
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27 October 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers Foreign and Commonwealth Office: China Official Engagements
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place on his Department's website the minutes of his discussions on Tibet during his recent visit to China.

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has no plans to publish these minutes. However I made a public statement about my visit to Tibet which can be found [...] here. In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office published an article on Tibet on the Guardian website which can be found [...] here.
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EDM 2150: Executions in Lhasa, Tibet, 20 October 2009.
26.10.2009 tabled by Harry Cohen (73 signatories)
That this House is shocked and saddened by the news of the deplorable judicial executions of Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak in Lhasa on 20 October 2009; fully supports the Minister of State's condemnation of these executions and the doubts expressed in his Statement on the lack of due legal processes in these cases; calls on the Government urgently to follow up its concerns about lack of due process; further urges the Government to state clearly what measures it will take to ensure the Chinese government reviews the cases of those who remain under sentence of death for their alleged involvement in last year's unrest; and further calls on the Government to obtain clarification on reports that two further Tibetans were executed at the same time and, if the report is verified, under what legal processes these executions were carried out since there is no information on any other Tibetans having received death sentences without reprieve.

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EDM 2133: Human Rights in Tibet and China.
21.10.2009 tabled by Kate Hoey (83 signatories)
That this House notes the Foreign Affairs select committee's recent statement that there is little evidence that the Government's policy of constructive engagement is leading to any significant human rights improvements in Tibet and China; further notes that the change made in 2008 by the Government to view Tibet henceforth as part of China was made without parliamentary oversight and has failed to lead to the human rights gains in return that were predicted by the Foreign Secretary at the time; recognises that the Government's weakening commitment to protect human rights in Tibet in recent years has coincided with a dramatic worsening of the human rights situation in Tibet; calls on the Foreign Affairs select committee to conduct a formal inquiry into the effectiveness of strategies being employed by the Government within its overall policy towards China, to protect and promote the human rights of the Tibetan and Chinese people.

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20 October 2009: House of Commons Hansard  Oral Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Mr. James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con): What the Government's policy is on the status of Tibet; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis):
We regard Tibet as part of China, albeit as an autonomous region. Our interest is in long-term stability, which can be achieved through respect for human rights and greater autonomy for Tibetans. We believe that substantive dialogue between the Chinese authorities and representatives of the Dalai Lama is the best way to achieve this.

Mr. Gray: May I first call the House's attention to my entry in the Register of Members' Interests, where I record a recent visit to Tibet? During that visit I became increasingly convinced that the Government's change in stance on the status of Tibet was quite correct. Tibet needs to be an integral part of the greater People's Republic of China, albeit an entirely autonomous region. Does not the Minister agree with me about two things? First, that the change of stance should have been announced to the House in an oral statement rather than sneaked out in a written statement, which meant that no one could ask any questions about it. Secondly, I do not believe that much use was made of the leverage that could have been achieved by the UK Government's change in stance to press the Chinese Government on human rights issues, both in Tibet and across the greater People's Republic. Does he—.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

 Mr. Lewis: In terms of leverage, the fact that I was the first Minister to be invited by the Chinese Government to visit Tibet recently and that the all-party group, of which the hon. Gentleman is a member, was also allowed and encouraged to visit Tibet demonstrates that that shift in policy has enabled us to exercise significant influence over the Chinese Government. Let us be clear about the issues. It is extremely important—we have made this clear to China—that although we recognise the economic and social progress that is evident in Tibet, there are still major concerns about human rights. The Chinese Government should begin immediate negotiations with the representatives of the Dalai Lama and encourage visits from other politicians, and from journalists and opinion formers around the world, to demonstrate a greater level of openness. There must also be no equivocation on religious freedom, which is enshrined in the constitution of China in relation to Tibet.

Mr. Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) (Lab):
I welcome my hon. Friend's visit to Tibet to get an understanding of and a feel for what is happening there. Does he recognise that we will not solve the problem merely by having MPs and Ministers visiting the country? What needs to be dealt with is the intolerance shown towards the Tibetan people and the lack of freedom. What pressure can he put on the Chinese Government, as well as speaking to the Dalai Lama?

Mr. Lewis: My hon. Friend raises an extremely important point. Subsequent to my visit, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I raised the issue of human rights violations with Dai Bigguo, the state councillor from China, and I have also had a lengthy meeting with the very able ambassador to China. Various issues need to be addressed: we must make sure that ethnic Tibetans benefit from the economic growth undoubtedly now taking place in Tibet, and that their language and culture are protected. In addition, we must ensure that ethnic Tibetans have access to fair justice and that there is genuine religious freedom, particularly in the monasteries.

Richard Younger-Ross (Teignbridge) (LD):
In 1904, Colonel Younghusband took British troops into Tibet. In 1947, those troops left and we recognised the Tibetan people's right to self-determination. Why do this Government not allow them that self-determination? Why are we not putting more pressure on the Chinese Government to recognise that right? At present, we are exerting less pressure in that regard than we did in 1947.

Mr. Lewis: When the hon. Gentleman asks why Britain does not allow the Tibetans freedom, he is clearly living in the past. The other important point is that the Dalai Lama himself does not demand independence for Tibet: what he demands is genuine autonomy and religious freedom, which has long been the policy of the rest of the international community. There is no doubt that, as a consequence of the policy change that we made last year, we now have greater leverage to influence China's policies in relation to Tibet.
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30 June 2009: House of Commons Hansard Oral Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Harry Cohen (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): What recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart to seek to achieve progress towards Tibetan autonomy within an overall China.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Ivan Lewis): The Foreign Secretary last raised the status of Tibet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang during his visit to the UK in February during the UK-China summit. He called for substantive dialogue between the Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama’s representatives to address the underlying issues in Tibet.

Harry Cohen:
Will the Minister urge his Chinese counterpart to end the outdated rhetoric of hostility towards the Dalai Lama and his Tibetan supporters? Will he tell him that that autonomy is a genuine and workable concept within an overall China, that it is not independence, as the hardliners pretend, and that it can help to provide an important degree of self-determination and can protect the unique Tibetan culture? Will the Minister take practical steps, such as offering to mediate, to help resolve this long-standing injustice?

Mr. Ivan Lewis: First, may I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his long-standing interest and commitment on this very important issue? It is possibly early days for me to start mediating in such an historic dispute, but it is absolutely clear that we believe that the only way forward is for the Chinese authorities to resume bilateral discussions with the Dalai Lama’s envoys. It is worth noting that it has always been the Dalai Lama’s position not to advocate independence but to advocate autonomy. We believe that that is now consistent with the British position and that this window of opportunity should be used for the benefit of Tibet.

Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): The UK Government have rightly promoted the idea of dialogue, as the Minister has just set out. Is not the reality that over many years the Chinese have engaged in dialogue but have never given any ground, even of a limited nature? What action are the Government taking to co-ordinate a response with other European Union countries, the United States and other allies to put pressure on the Chinese authorities to be a little less intransigent and to recognise the basic human rights of Tibet?

Mr. Lewis:
Our position has recently become aligned, for the first time, with that of the European Union. There is a clear, strong and united position, and the European Union uses its dialogue with China constantly to raise the question of Tibet. For example, during the last round of our bilateral human rights dialogue we called for due process in Tibet and full transparency to allow unhindered access for diplomats and journalists. We also called for reform of the use of the death penalty to limit the scope of its application. Now that our position, for the first time, is aligned with that of the European Union, I believe that we have the best possible opportunity to influence the Chinese to do the right thing by Tibet.
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11 June 2009: House of Commons Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 3 June 2009, Official Report, column 522W, on Tibet, what report was made to him by those officials who visited the Tibet Autonomous Region in May 2009.

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend, the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Bill Rammell, on 8 June 2009, Official Report.

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8 June 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Politics and Government
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department next plans to assess the (a) political and (b) human rights situation in Tibet.

Bill Rammell: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office makes regular assessments of the political and human rights situation in Tibet. Staff from our embassy in Beijing were most recently able to visit Tibet in May this year. There they were able to assess the situation of the Tibetan people, and found that many monasteries were able to carry out daily religious rites without obvious interference, though there was clear evidence of continued government restrictions in matters such as the numbers of monks and reverence of the Dalai Lama. In general security force presence had returned to similar levels as before the riots in March 2008. The exception was in the old town of Lhasa where there had been a visible increase. Embassy representatives heard that in future access to Tibet for foreigners, including tourists and official visitors would continue to ease. I intend to pursue our concerns in further detail during my own visit to Tibet later next month.

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3 June 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when officials from the British Embassy in Beijing next plan to visit Tibet.

Bill Rammell: Officials from our embassy in Beijing were able to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region in May 2009. They met representatives of the regional government, Lhasa Municipal government, the Regional People's Congress, and representatives of non-governmental organisations working there. They were also able to observe daily life and visit a monastery to assess the situation there. I intend to visit Tibet in shortly.

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18 May 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Human Rights
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2009, Official Report, columns 807-08W, on Tibet: human rights, what reports he has received on the compliance with international standards of the trials of individuals arrested in connection with the disturbances in Tibet in March 2008.

Bill Rammell: We have received a number of reports from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) stating that the trials of those connected with the disturbances in Tibet in March 2008 were not compliant with international standards, and that the evidence against the individuals concerned was unsound and the convictions therefore unsafe. We have consistently expressed our concern at the need for proper due process for all those detained, and our belief that any trials should be conducted justly, fairly and transparently. The fact that independent observers were not allowed at these trials means that we have been unable to verify that the human rights of the defendants were respected, and that the trials were free from political interference. This, together with the reports from NGOs, does give us real cause for concern, as does the verdict of the death penalty, to which the UK is opposed in principle. As a consequence, and working closely with our EU counterparts, we are urging the Chinese authorities not to carry out the sentences imposed on those convicted. I made these points in similar terms in my written response to Free Tibet and the Tibet Society at the beginning of May.

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13 May 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Human Rights
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of China on human rights in Tibet.

Bill Rammell:
We continue to have concerns about the human rights of Tibetans both in Tibet and the surrounding regions. Most recently my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised our concerns on the situation in Tibet with both Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, urging the Chinese authorities to resume their discussions with the Dalai Lama's envoys without delay. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also raised Tibet with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the UK-China Summit in February 2009.

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EDM 1373: Death Penalty in Tibet
28.04.2009, tabled by Kate Hoey  (128 signatories)
That this House opposes the use of the death penalty; condemns the recent imposition of the death penalty by the Lhasa Intermediate People's Court on Tibetans, Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak, having found them guilty of arson attacks in Lhasa in March 2008 which led to confirmed deaths; further condemns the recent imposition of the death penalty, each with a two year reprieve, by the same court on Tibetans Tenzin Phuntsok, Kangtsuk and on a 21-year-old Tibetan woman, Penkyi, also for arson attacks in Lhasa in March 2008, which led to confirmed deaths; is concerned that evidence against these individuals is unsound, with one of the convicted found guilty on the basis of a confession only months after the UN Committee Against Torture concluded that China regularly uses torture as a means of extracting confessions in criminal proceedings; is further concerned that the trials of those named above were not conducted in accordance with judicial standards and that the death sentences passed are therefore unsafe; calls on the relevant Chinese authorities to rescind the aforementioned death sentences and to provide unfettered access to Tibet and all Tibetan-populated regions, including court proceedings, for journalists, consular staff based in Beijing and independent observers; and further calls on the British Government publicly to raise its concerns regarding the cases with the Chinese government.
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23 April 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Human Rights
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Chinese authorities to seek to halt the death sentences recently imposed upon certain Tibetan individuals; if he will make an assessment of whether the judicial process which resulted in these death sentences was in accordance with international standards; and if he will make a statement.

Gillian Merron: We have consistently appealed to the Chinese Government to ensure fair trials in accordance with international standards for those individuals arrested in connection with the disturbances in Tibet in March 2008. We continue to make clear our abolitionist stance on the death penalty and to urge the Chinese authorities to reduce its scope and application.

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20 April 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Immigration: Tibet.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what designation the UK Border Agency uses to classify persons of Tibetan origin who wish to enter the UK.

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 19 March 2009]: Tibetans, like all persons seeking entry to the UK, are required to produce a valid national passport satisfactorily establishing their identity and nationality, and are classified accordingly.

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24 March 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Human Rights
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to promote the human rights concerns of the people of Tibet in (a) bilateral and (b) multilateral forums; and if he will make a statement.

Bill Rammell:
We continue to have concerns about the human rights of Tibetans both in Tibet and the surrounding regions. Most recently, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary took up the question of Tibet with Foreign Minister Jang Jiechi at the UK-China Summit in February. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also raised it with Premier Wen Jiabao at that Summit. As Minister of State for Asia I have also raised Tibet during talks in Beijing with both Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hongbo and Vice- Minister Sita of the United Front Work Department on 20 January. The UK also raised concerns about human rights of Tibetans during China's appearance before the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on 9 February 2009.

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24 March 2009: House of Commons Hansard  Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Politics and Government
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2009, Official Report, column 2204W, on Tibet: politics and government, what consideration he gave to seeking specific undertakings from the Chinese government in advance of the change of UK policy on Tibet.

Bill Rammell: We consider that it would have been inappropriate to negotiate on this matter with the Chinese Government before setting out the position to this House. The change of policy reflects practical reality and is justified in its own right. By setting out our position unambiguously on the status of Tibet it allows us to speak clearly on the subject of human rights there, without allowing others to claim that we are denying China sovereignty over a large part of its territory.
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EDM 1172: South Africa and the Dalai Lama
24.03.2009, tabled by Tim Loughton (48 signatories.)
That this House deeply regrets the decision by South Africa to refuse a visa to the Dalai Lama to attend a peace conference in Johannesburg this week; questions the priorities of the South African government in taking such a course of action so as not to upset relations with China; and calls on the South African government to reverse its decision in the interests of promoting free speech and pursuing a peaceful solution to settling the longstanding dispute over the autonomy and human rights of the people of Tibet.

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EDM 1034: Political Situation in Tibet
10.03.2009, tabled by Norman Baker (51 signatories.)
That this House condemns the state of de facto martial law that Tibet has been subjected to by the Chinese government on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising and the flight of the Dalai Lama; recognises the severe impact on basic human rights and freedoms the present Chinese approach is having on the Tibetan people; notes that Tibetans continue to be tortured and killed and that thousands are subject to arbitrary and heavy-handed restrictions of movement; and calls on the Chinese government to end the de facto martial law and to lift the official ban on access to Tibet for journalists and aid organisations.
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EDM 998: Venerable Palden Gyatso and Human Rights in Tibet.
05.03.2009, tabled by Harry Cohen (42 signatories.)
That this House welcomes the arrival to Britain, at the invitation of the Tibet Society, of the former political prisoner, the Venerable Palden Gyatso, to speak of his experiences; notes with deep regret the suffering and torture he endured during 33 years of imprisonment following detainment in 1959 for peaceful protest; commends his commitment to peacefully calling for the rights and freedom of his people; further notes with sadness that 50 years on the human rights situation in Palden’s homeland of Tibet remains critical, with continuing oppressive measures being imposed upon the Tibetan people by Chinese government policies, such as patriotic re-education, arbitrary arrests and torture in detention and the use of brutal force against Tibetans who publicly demonstrate; and offers its support for a just and fair solution for the Tibetan people.
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EDM 978: The 50th Anniversary on 10 March 2009 of the Tibetan National Uprising.
04.03.2009 tabled by Norman Baker (90 signatories.)
This House notes the 50th Anniversary on 10 March 2009 of the Tibetan National Uprising; draws attention to the unique historical position of Great Britain and Tibet whereby Great Britain had direct diplomatic and trade links with Tibet and maintained a permanent diplomatic mission in Tibet between 1933-1947, further notes the written Ministerial Statement of 29 October 2008 which changed the British government’s long held position on the status of Tibet that was made without receiving any assurance from the Chinese government to make genuine progress on the issue of Tibet, and in view of the government’s strong concerns on human rights issues inside Tibet also expressed in the ministerial statement, including the situation of those remaining in detention, the increased constraints on religious activity and the limitations on free access to the Tibet Autonomous Region by diplomats and journalists, urgently calls on the government to act on these concerns and give effect to its stated commitment to seek a solution for Tibet, and further calls on the government to draft a list of practical actions that address these issues, with a clear framework to monitor progress, that the Chinese government can adopt in order to work to bring about genuine justice to the Tibetan people.
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3 March 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Politics and Government
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has held with his Chinese counterpart on the status of Tibet in the last 12 months.

Bill Rammell: Over the last 12 months, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has discussed the status of Tibet with Foreign Minister Yang on a number of occasions. The issue was discussed during the Foreign Secretary's visit to Beijing in February 2008 and again while they were in New York for the UN General Assembly in September 2008. The status of Tibet was also discussed when the Foreign Secretary was in China for the Asia-Europe meeting in October 2008, and most recently when the Foreign Secretary met Foreign Minister Yang in London on 1 February 2009 at the UK-China summit. During these meetings, the Foreign Secretary emphasised that the current political difficulties in Tibet can best be resolved through dialogue between the Chinese Government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

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24 February 2009: House of Commons Hansard Oral Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): The Government recently changed their long-held historical position on Tibet. They gave the Chinese authorities what they wanted in respect of Tibet, but appeared to secure no concessions in return. Will the Foreign Secretary and his team accept that it is important to make progress in that country? Chinese assurances are not sufficient; we need proper action, including proper access for the Red Cross and others to what is happening in a very difficult situation.

Bill Rammell:
I say to the hon. Gentleman, who I know takes a real interest in the issue, that it is right that we press the Chinese authorities. The Prime Minister raised the issue of Tibet in a recent state visit. When I was in Beijing a couple of weeks ago, I had detailed discussions about Tibet with the lead negotiator on the Chinese side. I strongly argued that there needs to be a settlement that is negotiated with the representatives of the Dalai Lama. That is our position, and we will continue to argue it strongly.

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12 February 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Politics and Government
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 29 October 2008, Official Report, columns 30-32WS, on Tibet, what undertakings the Chinese government gave prior to his Department's change of policy on Tibet; and if he will make a statement.

Bill Rammell: We did not consult the Chinese Government on the update to our policy on Tibet in the written ministerial statement of 29 October 2008, Official Report.

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4 February 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: China Human Rights
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue meeting of 12 to 13 January was, with specific reference to Tibet; and if he will make a statement.

Bill Rammell: Issues discussed at the recent human rights dialogue included China's co-operation with international human rights mechanisms, the death penalty, reform of the administrative detention system, religious freedom in Xinjiang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea border-crossers and freedom of expression. We held detailed discussions on disability and mental health issues, and the role of the prosecutor in the UK and China in upholding defendants' rights. We welcomed the decision to make permanent more liberal regulations on foreign journalists, but also raised our concerns about the continued detention of a signatory of charter 08. We handed over a list of 50 other individual cases and asked for further information about these. We urged China to implement the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture and to issue open invitations to UN Special Rapporteurs to visit China. With reference to Tibet, we made clear that we remain concerned about the apparent lack of due process for those in detention in Tibet, restrictions on freedom of religion and lack of transparency. We urged renewed dialogue between the Chinese Government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve the underlying issues, and pressed for agreements on visits by foreign journalists and diplomats.

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2 February 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet Missing Persons
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the whereabouts of the Tibetan film maker Dhondup Wangchen; and what discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on the matter.

Bill Rammell: Non-governmental organisations have reported that Dhondup Wangchen was detained on 26 March 2008 after completing his documentary film ‘Leaving Far Behind'. Dhondup was reportedly held in the Ershilipu Detention centre, in Xining (Qinghai Province) for three months. From there he was moved to the Guangsheng Hotel in Xining, where he was last seen around 12 July, 2008. We have no further information about Dhondup's whereabouts or whether any charges have been brought against him. We have not raised this specific case with the Chinese authorities.

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26 January 2009: House of Commons Hansard  Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress his Department has made against its policy objectives regarding Tibet since 1 January 2008; what specific outcomes have resulted from steps taken by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Bill Rammell [holding answer 15 December 2008]:
Working to improve human rights in Tibet has been a consistent Government policy priority during the course of 2008. We raised Tibet at our UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in January, where a broad discussion took place on minority rights and the role of the police, and also visited Tibet as part of that dialogue. There have also been several ministerial interventions on this issue, including statements by my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, my noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown and myself. We have consistently pressed the Chinese government to engage in open and substantive dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama. We believe that the clear expression of support for dialogue from the international community, including the UK, was helpful in encouraging the dialogue to continue. Equally, we are disappointed that the process has so far failed to achieve results, and appears to have reached an impasse. I issued a statement on 24 November calling on both sides to resume discussions without delay, focused initially on identifying points of agreement within the proposals already put forward by the Tibetan side. We have also continued to express our concern, to the Chinese and publicly, over those who remain in detention, the increased constraints on religious activity, and the restrictions on access to Tibetan areas for foreigners. We have also continued to raise individual cases in conjunction with our EU partners. We will continue to work in support of human rights in Tibet, in accordance with the written ministerial statement that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary issued on 29 October 2008, Official Report.

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12 January 2009: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Tibet
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has persuaded the Chinese government to take in respect of Tibet since his announcement on the change of position on the status of Tibet.

Bill Rammell:
I issued a public statement on 24 November following the conclusion of the Tibetan exiles' meeting in Dharamsala, in which I again urged the Chinese government to engage in substantive discussion with the Dalai Lama's representatives, on the proposals put forward by the Tibetan side. In addition, both I and Simon McDonald, the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy adviser met with Zhu Weiqun the Assistant Minister from the United Front Work Department on 14 November. We made clear the Government's wish for the Chinese government to address the human rights situation in Tibet, through a meaningful system of autonomy.

Norman Baker:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the outcomes of the eighth round of talks between the representatives of the Chinese government and the Tibetan government-in-exile; and if he will make a statement.

Bill Rammell: The first session of the special general meeting took place in Dharamsala 17-22 November 2008. In total 560 participants from 19 different countries attended. The meeting agreed a number of recommendations; a summary of these is available at: http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php?id=546&; articletype=flash&rmenuid=morenews I issued a statement on the conclusion of the talks on 24 November. I welcomed the renewed commitment from the Tibetan exile movement to pursue a sustainable solution to the underlying issues in Tibet through dialogue with China and non-violent means. I also said that I believed that some of the proposals put forward by the Tibetan side prior to the last, round of dialogue should provide a basis for substantive discussions, focussed initially on identifying points of agreement.
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