French lawmakers demand visas for Tibet
Group of French lawmakers urged China at the weekend to grant them visas allowing them to visit the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, rocked by violence and protests.
PARIS, March 17, 2008 - A group of French lawmakers urged China at
the weekend to grant them visas allowing them to visit the Tibetan capital of
Lhasa, rocked by violence and protests.
The 62 members of a parliamentary task force on Tibet asked the Chinese
ambassador to issue them with "the necessary visas so that the deputies of the
Tibet group can travel to Lhasa as early as this week," said Lionnel Luca,
president of the bipartisan group.
The Tibetan protests are the biggest since 1989 and began in Lhasa on March
10, the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising that led the Dalai Lama to flee
into exile in India.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency said 10 people died in Friday's
protests, while the Tibetan government-in-exile at Dharamshala in northern
India told AFP it could confirm eight times that number.
"The bloody repression of peaceful marches by Tibetans and their monks
reminds the world of the ugly reality behind today's biggest dictatorship,"
said a statement issued by the parliamentary group on Saturday.
Former Socialist minister and deputy Jack Lang separately said France
should boycott the Beijing Olympics this summer to protest China's policies,
in particular in Tibet.
"This international cowardice toward Tibet is unacceptable," Lang said.
But Rama Yade, the junior minister for human rights, said France did not
support a boycott of China.
"History has shown that boycotts are not always effective," Yade told
Europe 1 radio.
"What we would like is that full light is shed on these events, as quickly
as possible, and that peaceful demonstrators who were jailed be released,"