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french-parliamentarains-2013Dharamshala: - French lawmakers urged the President of the Republic to speak on the issue of human rights in China. They called on the French government to express its deep concern at the violations of human rights and civil liberties in China, especially in Tibet and East Turkestan.

On the eve of french President Francois Hollande's visit to China, Senator André Gattolin (EELV, Hauts-de-Seine) and Deputies Noel Mamère (EELV, Gironde) and Jean Patrick Gille (PS, Indre et Loire) called on the French President to work towards establishing without any pretense, an open dialogue with his counterpart Xi Jinping and the leaders of the People's Republic of China.

According to a survey conducted by IFOP (http://www.ifop.fr) from 16 to 18 April 2012 on behalf of an NGO Green Lotus (Resource Centre for Sustainable Development in Asia of which Senator Andre Gattolin is a member), the French are both keen to strengthen trade with China, and worried about the increasing role she (China) plays in the international arena.

In this same survey, French people expressed particular concern about the situation of human rights in China. 92% of them consider it unsatisfactory in China in general, and specifically in Tibet (94% dissatisfied). Moved by the wave of self-immolations in the region, 83% are supportive of the Tibetan people, and 66% require that the President of the Republic directly bring up the subject with President Xi Jinping.

"It is quite natural for our two countries to strengthen commercial and institutional relations, the necessary mutual understanding can only be achieved with frankness and through diplomacy that does not bypass the issue of respect for human rights, nor the repression of ethnic and cultural minorities in the country mentioned" concluded André Gattolin, member of Information Group on Tibet in the Senate and Noël Mamère, Co-President along with Jean-Patrick Gille, of Study Group on Tibet issue in the National Assembly.

Responding today to a question posed by Deputy Noel Mamère, who also serves as one of the co-presidents of Study Group on Tibet issue in the French National Assembly, the Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will accompany Hollande during the visit, said that "the self-immolations in Tibet have clearly caused anxiety in many countries and of course in France."

The Foreign Minister assured the house that the President will "certainly address" the issue of human rights during his China visit and underlined that the dialogue between the Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama is the only way forward to achieve durable solution that fully respects the cultural and spiritual identity of Tibetans, while being a part of People's Republic of China.

Just a couple of days ago, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the political leader of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), was received at the French National Assembly by one of the co-presidents of the Study Group on the Question of Tibet, Mr Jean-Patrick Gille, along with four other officials.

During an hour long interaction with the French deputies, the Sikyong thanked them for according him the honour and for the continuous support that the Tibet issue has received from the French parliamentarians.

Dr Sangay spoke on the current situation inside Tibet and answered questions posed by the members on reinvigorating the awareness and support for the Tibetan cause.

Like in the Senate, the Sikyong also informed the deputies about the position of the CTA vis a vis the series of self-immolations taking place inside Tibet and the way forward to solve the issue of Tibet through peaceful dialogue within the principles of the Middle Way policy of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Sikyong strongly urged the deputies in the National Assembly to support the CTA in its quest to open dialogue process with the Chinese leadership, reiterating that the CTA do not seek to take power in Tibet when it regains its freedom.

President Hollande arrived in Beijing on Thursday on a trip aimed at boosting exports to China, with hopes that deals can be reached over the sale of aircraft and nuclear power, according to media reports.

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