Statement by Marco Pannella, Member of the European Parliament, President of the NonViolent Radical Party for the event “Olympics and Human Rights in China”

Statement by Marco Pannella, Member of the European Parliament, President of the NonViolent Radical Party for the event “Olympics and Human Rights in China”, organized by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation in Washington, DC, on 9 April 2008.

Dear Wei, dear friends of the Wei Jingsheng Foundation,

I would like to thank you very much for your kind invitation to the Nonviolent Radical Party to be present at this important event that will address the human rights situation in China at four months of the Olympic games. Unfortunately, none of us could be with you in D.C. today, and for this reason I am even more appreciative of the opportunity you are giving us to present a statement.

At the end of last year, I had the chance to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Rome and in Dharamsala to discuss some of the aspects of the “First World Satyagraha for Peace, Freedom and the Rule of Law” that the Nonviolent Radical Party has launched two years ago. On both occasions, the Dalai Lama urged us to pursue objectives that would have brought more freedom and human rights for all Chinese rather than promote ad hoc initiatives on Tibet or for Tibetans.

“Free Tibet for a Free China” was the slogan that our fellow Radicals Sergio D’Elia, Matteo Mecacci, Marco Perduca chanted when they joined the “March to Tibet” a month ago that from Dharamsala wanted to reach Tibet in a very crucial moment for China: the year in which, thanks to the Olympic games, world attention is focused on Beijing.

I know that some of you believe that the games should be boycotted, I will not object to that, but at the same time let me point out that the debate and public outcry on what is happening in China or on China would have not made the headlines daily if the Beijing Olympics would not have been on the international agenda.

We need to nurture all the various nonviolent actions of individuals around the world with concrete political acts. On 26 March, we convened an extraordinary plenary session of the European Parliament expressly on Tibet and invited Mr. Karma Chophel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, to address the Committee on Foreign Affairs. I hope that the U.S. Congress will do the same when His Holiness will be in the States later this spring extending the debate to the general human rights situation in China.

As some of you may know Wei is a long-time member of the NonViolent Radical Party and has represented our organization before the United Nations many times denouncing the polices and practices of the Chinese Government; recently also Ms. Rebya Kadeer, the leader of the Uyghurs, who lives here in the U.S., became a member of the Radical Party. We are honoured to have, among other human rights activists, these two symbols for the global struggle to create a free China as members, and believe that thanks to their work we will be able to indeed promote a new China, a country that can become a federation of different entities that will administer themselves autonomously without necessarily becoming independent nation-states.

Our federalist proposal is not the product of a realistic approach, but rather a vision that considers absolute national sovereignty of states a totem to which too many human lives have been sacrificed. This heritage of the past that needs to be overcome to ensure individual liberty for all. I look forward to reading the proceedings of your meeting to keep this dialogue alive; in the meantime I invite you to endorse a new slogan: “Free Tibet, Free Easter Turkestan, Free Inner Mongolia, for a Free China!”.

With my best wishes,

Marco Pannella