Written Answers. - Chinese Policy on Tibet.

Tony Gregory

Question:

214 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 210 of 3 December 2002, if he will outline the ethnic minorities referred to; and if the reference to Tibet, as an integral part of China, represents a policy change by his Department. [3906/03]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

215 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the 26 January 2003 execution of a person (details supplied) following an unfair trial which was held in secret, where this person did not have access to full and adequate legal representation and prior to which this person was held for several months incommunicado; if he has raised or will raise his concerns with the Chinese Government regarding the serious breaches of international fair trial standards in this case, the first known case of an execution of a Tibetan for alleged political offences in many years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3907/03]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

216 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has made or will make inquiries to the Chinese authorities as to the whereabouts and status of the persons (details supplied) who were arrested together with a person (details supplied) on 7 April 2002; if he has made or will make inquiries as to the whereabouts of two other persons (details supplied) who went missing on 8 April 2002 after being arrested, interrogated, and beaten by policy during the 7 April 2002 raid on the Jamyang Choekhorling monastery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3908/03]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

217 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will request the Chinese Government to conduct an immediate review of the case of a person (details supplied) who was arrested on 7 April 2002 at Jamyang Choekhorling monastery in Nyagchukha county, Sichuan province; if he will request the Chinese authorities to conduct a retrial in line with international fair trial standards, or alternatively release this person unconditionally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3909/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 214 to 217, inclusive, together.

On 3 December, I set out the approach of Ireland and our EU partners to Tibet. There has been no change of policy in this regard. In common with its EU partners, Ireland regards Tibet as an integral part of China, and the Government of the People's Republic of China as the only legal government of China. The Government believes that the best way to achieve progress in relation to the situation in Tibet is through peaceful dialogue between the Government in Beijing and the Dalai Lama.

I recalled on 3 December the bilateral contacts the Government has had with China during which we have highlighted our concerns in relation to human rights abuses, and recorded the level of concern in Ireland in relation to Tibet. I also set out the on-going efforts at the UN, including at the Commission on Human Rights, to address issues involving the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in China, including those in Tibet.
Since I made that statement, two cases have been brought to my attention. These involved two Tibetans who were charged by the Intermediate People's Court of Kardze prefecture in Sichuan. Since April 2002, when they were arrested, widespread concerns have been raised amongst EU partners and NGOs, including those in Ireland. Some ten other people were reportedly detained in connection with these cases; I understand from reports that Tsultrim Dargye, Tamdring Tsering and Ashar (Aka) Dhargye may remain in detention; the whereabouts of Choetsom and Pasang, said to be monks at Jamyang Choekhorling monastery, are still unknown.
It is alleged that the cases of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup were based on confessions, that torture was involved, and that no evidence was made public. The charges against Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, who was sentenced to death, with a two – year suspension of execution, involved violent and terrorist acts in Sichuan, including an explosion at Chengdu's main square in April 2002. The charges against Lobsang Dhondup, who was sentenced to death, involved a bomb attack on a police station in 2001, in which one person was killed, as well as illegal possession of guns and ammunition.
The EU Troika ambassadors carried out two demarches to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to make known their concerns on these cases. The Troika pressed for information in these cases, including on the status of the appeal procedure, the location and level of the court, and urged that observers be allowed access.
Despite these efforts, on 26 January Lobsang Dhondup was executed, and the sentence of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche was upheld. The EU, with Ireland's full support, issued a declaration on 5 February, expressing deep regret and disappointment at the execution of Lobsang Dhondup, despite international concerns at the lack of transparency of the process in these cases.
In the declaration, the EU reiterated its concerns about the conditions under which the trial was conducted, and the lack of certainty as to whether due process and other safeguards for a fair trial were respected, adding that it considered this a serious violation of the rights of the two defendants. It also reiterated its policy on the death penalty, including its insistence that, in cases where the death penalty is maintained, the internationally accepted minimum standards should be respected. This should include all possible safeguards to ensure a fair trial and adequate, fair representation, as well as the need for clear and convincing evidence.
The European Union has voiced these concerns to the Chinese Government, urging it to review the case against Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and expressed also its expectation that his death sentence will not be carried out. Ireland and the EU will continue to avail of every opportunity to raise their concerns regarding the situation of Tibet through the EU-China human rights dialogue, as well as through appropriate action at the UN, including at the Commission on Human Rights.