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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Where’s the EU on Tibetan Rights?

Why aren't you boycotting Chinese entities operating in occupied Tibet?
A brutalized Tibetan protester.

A brutalized Tibetan protester.

By Veronica Slootsky, MD

Dear Europe,

I’ve heard that you plan to boycott “Israeli entities operating beyond the Green Line.”

I am glad that you are thinking about the idea of human rights. After all, the lack thereof drove many of the Israelis you seek to boycott to abandon your green fields for the dusty Middle East after you butchered their families. So, I’m glad that you now care about the well-being of the vulnerable, the oppressed, and the voiceless.

I’m just confused about a few small details, Europe.

You see, I, too, am a novice advocate for human rights. I have volunteered with refugees from Sudan and Latin America as a physician, and ran the local chapter of Physicians for Human Rights at my medical school. In the future, I hope to work for the benefit of all refugees — including both Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees from Arab lands. People are people, and bias under these circumstances isn’t just unfair; it’s deadly.

Recently, I attended an event in Washington, D.C. that promoted the culture and the struggle for freedom of the Tibetan people—a peaceful, ancient nation that dwelled in its mountainous lands for millennia. However, their mountains also guard an abundance of natural resources that has attracted some unwanted attention. The Tibetan nation has now faced decades of steady destruction by the communist Chinese regime through political oppression, forced assimilation, and religious persecution.

At the event, I spoke to survivors of political detention and torture. I met with young journalists and musicians who, because they spoke out for freedom, can never return home.

One of the elderly leaders of the community spoke with admiration about the ability of the Jewish people to preserve their culture despite their long exile. He stated that the Tibetans must draw lessons from the Jews. I thanked him, and said that I would pray that he, too, could someday return to his homeland.

There are videos of Tibetan teenagers falling in the snow as they hike in a line across mountainous borders, shot dead by Chinese snipers. Have you seen this, Europe? Or are only children named Muhammad newsworthy in France-2’s eyes?

In fact, any concerns you have about the Chinese oppression of the Tibetans seems to be limited to the biannual EU-China human rights dialogues. These meetings, attended by low-level diplomats, are held behind closed doors and are not open to the press or the public. You may have thought that holding these talks would be an important first step— understandable— but not much has changed since they began in 1995, and you have not pressed the issue.

If you care so much about human rights, Europe, why do you ignore the increasingly frequent self-immolations of hundreds of oppressed Tibetans? Why do you avoid the Dalai Lama as if he were a leper? Why is there no special representative from the EU to Tibet, as there has been from the United States for the past ten years? And, of course, why aren’t you making statements about boycotting Chinese entities operating in occupied Tibet?

Perhaps your growing fiscal concerns weigh heavily on your tongue.

Though creative, Israel is hardly an economic superpower like China. I can understand your hesitation.

It’s just not what I would expect from a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

So please, Europe, do the world a favor.

Speak up, or shut up.

Veronica Slootsky is a physician who advocates for human rights in Washington, DC. 

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17 Responses to “Where’s the EU on Tibetan Rights?”

  1. Where’s the US on Tibetan Rights?

  2. Chaiya Eitan says:

    The hypocrisy of the #EuropeanUnion is so transparent.

  3. Dear Dr. Slootsky,
    I understand well how you and Israel feels, I live in Europe and my son in law is also an MD. May I say if you haven't already done so get this document to that woman Ashton. Germany surprisingly enough is not saying much at this stage but has announced her view, 'Germany does not approve'. Germany largely controls the purse strings and France have just had a major rape and murder case by muslims. A Rabbi, his son, his wife and their 8 year old daughter were dragged from their home, the most horrific aspect the little girl was held to watch the murder of her family, a gun was pointed to her forehead and she was shot. The story has been covered on several international papers TL France internet news will certainly have reported this. Both Germany and France have the most clout and the Ashton woman I believe is Irish (a country known for it's antisemitism) Irish Jewry here in Ireland have a battle on our hands. These directives surprised us all in Europe being announced suddenly last Tuesday, on the same day on Euro News Ashrawi appeared from the PLO building dictating how Israel must do as she is told or else these words are virtually verbatim – remember this is the woman who accused Israel of acting like a Nazi regime, and as Ireland's previous President Mary Macaleese accused the UK of the same. These are the kind of idiotic women ignorant people have voted for!

  4. Ethan Perks says:

    The answer is quite simple. The Palestinians are dealing with Jews. Everybody else isn't!

  5. Cody Flecker says:

    Everybody hates the Jews consequently it is always "open season" on the Jews, unlike other peoples around the world. It is true that the Tibetans are getting rough treatment these days by the brutal Chinese Communists, but the leftists in the USA could care less. Their main concern is to see the Jews disappear, worldwide. Tibet is too far away for them to be concerned. Likewise, the European Union is in the same boat that the Americans are in, they too hate the Jews and have been doing so for a 1000 years or more. Nothing new here.

  6. Tabitha Elkins says:

    Very true article! The same people who rant and rave against Israel (sometimes with good intentions, sometimes with not-so-good intentions) are silent when it comes to human rights for Tibetans. Let's pray for peace and human rights for ALL PEOPLE!

  7. Anonymous says:

    How sad that this well-meaning, but misguided, physician is not devoting all her talents and skills to helping her OWN people, which needs those talents and energies! Please reconsider.

  8. I'm from The Netherlands, and I would like to say that I agree totally with the written article. What I would like to add is that what the European Union is doing does not represent all of the Europeans. I know quite a lot of people who oppose to this, in fact the majority of the inhabitants (the normal every day civilian) oppose the EU in total. We do not feel represented by them and we hope and pray for the day that our country gets its souvereignity back.

  9. Yaniv Baron says:

    This is by far the stupidest thing I have ever read honestly this sound like Jews are making an appeal. We should withhold everything including medical from all over the world. Soon Israel will have oil. Hopefully they will be smart and not sell them any until they get down on their knees and beg at which point we should sell it at a very high price. Europe prefers the dirty Arabs over us and that's fine with me. We don't need them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Europeans were centuries, are today and would be in the future anti-jewish.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The problem are the polyticians, they don't hear what the people wants, I think the EU will collaps on the way is going.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Irish catholics and Irish protestants "they love each other", why Ireland is in the EU?.

  13. Tim Upham says:

    Because Tibet is not in the media on a daily basis, the situation gets overlooked. I celebrate Losar with the Tibetan refugee community. Many of these refugees just crossed over the Himalayan Mountains from China into India. For humanity's sake, we need to put the situation in Tibet back in the forefront. So many people in Tibet are suffering from the Chinese occupation. Celebrating Losar with the Tibetan refugee community, keeps me to remember it. No, I am not Buddhist.

  14. Ken Kelso says:

    EU also opposes a Kurdish state in Iraqi Kurdistan.
    EU expects Kurds to live under Sunni Arabs and Shiites backed by Iran.

  15. Edgar Ricardo Costa Nunes says:

    Because Tibet was never an independent country belongs to china as the case of catalonia and others….. The case of Israel and the Palestinian was a distinct colony of united kingdom in 1948 were created two states one Jewish and one Arabic, the Arabs not accepted went to war with israel and lost every battle…. so peace and very hard.

  16. Edgar Ricardo Costa Nunes says:

    Make a boycott of Israel does not make sense…. I am a European.

  17. Love reading this article so true.

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