Dialogue on Tibet 'will improve French relations with China'

Updated: 2012-11-29 02:30

By Li Xiang in Paris (China Daily)

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Direct exchanges and dialogue between the Tibet autonomous region of China and France will help deepen France's understanding of the region and improve its relations with China, senior French politicians said on Wednesday.

"We need to know and understand a true Tibet through direct exchanges and face-to-face dialogue instead of listening to the distorted reports by the French media," said Andre Chassaigne, president of the Left Front Group of the French National Assembly.

More academic and cultural exchanges on Tibet will help dissolve some of the unfair accusations made against China by Western countries, which tend to use double standards when it comes to liberty and civil rights, Chassaigne said.

On Wednesday, a Chinese delegation of Tibetan scholars and researchers visited Paris and held seminars with members of the French Assembly. It was the first Tibetan delegation to visit a Western country since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held earlier this month.

During their meeting with French politicians, members of the delegation briefed them on the economic and social development of Tibet, and the region's progress on improving people's livelihoods and conserving the local environment.

"Our personal stories and experience are the best examples of the dramatic changes that have taken place in Tibet," said Phurbu Tsering, head of the delegation and vice-president of the Administrative Institute of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Bilateral relations between China and France deteriorated in 2008 when former French president Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in Poland.

Francois Asensi, a member of the French National Assembly, said that more information about the Chinese government's effort to protect religious freedom and promote social and economic development in Tibet will help French people better understand the true Tibet.

"The French people are paying great attention to the recent development and changes in Tibet, and issues including the protection of freedom of religion in the region," Asensi said.

The economy of Tibet has been growing rapidly at 12 percent annually over the past several years. Tourism has become a pillar industry. The region received more than 8 million visitors, including 220,000 foreign visitors, last year, according to Zhuang Jinsong, deputy director of the Communication Department of Tibet.

The Tibetan delegation will travel to Strasbourg on Thursday and hold a dialogue with the president of the International Institute of Human Rights, Jean-Paul Costa.

The delegation will also conduct seminars with French scholars at the Center of International and European Studies at the University of Strasbourg.

Contact the writer at lixiang@chinadaily.com.cn