Plenary speech on Tibet, plans to make Chinese the main language of instruction

Marietje
Marietje Schaake – Madam President, culture and cultural expressions underpin people’s values and identity. In the words of Aristotle, it is not about outward appearance but about inward significance. Culture, when used as a tool to impose values and to wash out diversity and freedom of expression, is like a weapon. It is therefore a very troubling development that Mandarin Chinese has been introduced as the main language of education and official documents for Tibetans. If China intends to wash out the Tibetan culture this way, it is acting against its own stated intentions of harmonious relations among the countless cultures, ethnicities and identities the country knows. The Chinese authorities should also allow access to Tibet by foreign media without the need for special permits and allow uncensored communications and access to information – also on the Internet – throughout the entire country. Not only economic development but also cultural diversity and respect for human rights contribute equally to wealth. The EU should consistently prioritise human rights, especially for ethnic and cultural minorities, in its relations with China.