Tibetan groups criticise Switzerland’s 'passive' new China strategy

The community also complained that nothing was done to stop China from spying and intimidating Tibetans in Switzerland. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Tibetan organisations in Switzerland are disillusioned with the recently announced Swiss government strategy towards China.  

This content was published on March 23, 2021 - 14:52

According to four Tibetan organisations, the Swiss policy does not provide for concrete action despite references to human rights in the document. In its China 2021-2024 strategy presented on Friday, the governing Swiss Federal Council states that human rights must be "addressed in concrete terms" and that a "constructive critical dialogue" must be conducted. 

However, according to the Tibetan community’s representatives in Switzerland, words have never stopped China from committing repression. 

"We lack concrete actions that would be possible for Switzerland, even though the country is much smaller than China," they say.  

According to the groups, this passivity of Switzerland encourages Chinese leaders to "act with more and more audacity". The reaction of Beijing confirms this, they add. On Monday, the Chinese ambassador in Bern strongly criticised Switzerland's strategy, accusing it of meddling in internal affairs. 

Tibetan groups called for Switzerland to block bank accounts and impose entry bans for those behind the Chinese "repressive apparatus". They believe that the European Union has taken the "right decisions" in this regard. On Monday, the EU imposed sanctions against China for the first time in over 30 years for human rights violations. 

The punitive measures apply to four leaders in Xinjiang for violations of the rights of the Muslim Uighur minority. According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, a possible adoption by Switzerland of the EU sanctions is under discussion. 

The statement issued Monday is signed by the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Society, the Tibetan Community in Switzerland, the Tibetan Women's Organization in Switzerland and the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe. 

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