Dalai Lama & Belgium

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Belgium Refuses Entry To The Dalai Lama

[London] Belgium has prevented the Dalai Lama from applying for a visa following massive pressure from the Chinese Government. The Dalai Lama was due to appear in Brussels before 300 delegates from around the world at the 5th International Conference of Tibet Support Groups from 11 to 14 May 2007.
It is reported that Belgium's decision has come just prior to Prince Philippe's upcoming trade meetings with Chinese counterparts.

"It is shameful that the Belgian Government, a state member of the EU and a country with a long democratic tradition, is willing to sacrifice its own values and take orders from a repressive regime. It is a worrying sign that democratic governments who are meant to protect human rights, freedom and justice, are willing to trade these values for economic interests," said Yael Weisz-Rind, Director of Free Tibet Campaign.

Free Tibet Campaign urges the Foreign Ministry in Brussels to publicly apologise and to immediately rectify their decision.

Contact: Yael Weisz-Rind 07733 393 773, email yael@freetibet.org.

Note to Editor:

The move comes barely a year before Beijing hosts the Olympics. With China's hosting of the Games, hopes were high for reforms and development in China's human rights record and for a solution for Tibet. Instead, in the build up to the 2008 Olympics Games, China has intensified repression of religious expression and other freedoms. It also has intensified and renewed its personal attacks on the Dalai Lama and brought the dialogue with his envoys to a standstill, with the last meeting taking place in February 2006.