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Letter to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Hungary in 2024

TibetPressNews / Budapest / 2024. május 6.

Budapest, 25th April 2024
Tibor Hendrey
Tibet Support Association of Hungary
H-1012 Budapest / Attila út 123.

Viktor Orbán / Prime Minister
Buda Castle / Prime Minister's Office
Carmelite Monastery

Dear Prime Minister,
You probably remember the Tibet Support Association Foundation and perhaps also me. On the occasion of the first showing of the movie Seven Years in Tibet a good 20 years ago, you personally congratulated us on our work. Since then, much water and many political convictions have flowed down the drain.
For more than thirty years, the organisation I founded has stood steadfastly and unwaveringly for the basic human rights of Tibetans, based on the diversity of human and Tibetan culture. Fortunately, we also have the support of the vast majority of Hungarian society.
This letter has been written on the occasion of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Hungary in May 2024. Our Foundation is in no way anti-China, as I have stated this repeatedly in several places. China is inescapable and has very important political, economic, environmental and military role in our world. It is acceptable that a powerful empire with great cultural heritage to regain its rightful place of prestige among the countries of the world. Engaging and working together is an important element for a happy future. In this sense, Washington is no closer than Beijing, but in the broader sense of globalisation, the Tibetan region is no further away than either of them.
Of course, the Tibetan issue is generally considered to be an internal matter for China, and no country likes outside interference in its internal affairs. We see this clearly in the case of Ukraine, where the country's political leadership, with varying degrees of temperament, decries Hungary for raising/pushing the serious human rights issues in Transcarpathia, yet we Hungarians make our voices heard. The same is the case with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and many other countries. So we can see that the internal affairs issue can in no way mean that a country can do anything to minorities living on its territory without consequences.
This is not interference in internal affairs, but a community rule for harmonious and peaceful coexistence between countries. How can you do business silently and quietly with a country where millions of people are still being deprived of their fundamental rights to this day. Such grossly disregarded rights as the right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression, the right to equal treatment, the right to the protection of nature in a given region, the right to language and education without discrimination, and so on and so forth.
What a country it is where silent, quiet deals are struck with extremist, repressive political leaders. Where any human rights concerns are mentioned in any form of note, and where cooperation with China is described as a close friendly relationship. Where anyone waving legally a Tibetan flag in the street is illegally beaten to the ground, according to the expectations of the Chinese President who does not wish to see that there are those who stand up for Tibet.
As far as I know and hope, Hungary is a peace-loving and Christianity-based sincere country, at least according to our foreign policy and governmental credo. Unfortunately, the pursuit of this principle is not consistent, but rather contradictory and is driven solely by vested, opaque interests.
I wish once again that we have fruitful relations with the Chinese People's Republic, even with the Chinese Communist Party, but not at any price, and especially not without a word on what we call internal affairs. It is a common argument to invoke Hungary's interests as an explanation for friendly relations with China. I think we can agree that we should define exactly what Hungary's interests are...? In our view, letting a totalitarian empire get too close is not.
I draw the Prime Minister's attention to the following lies that China is feeding to the international public:
- China claims that the Dalai Lama and his "clique" are separatist, subversive and aim to have a separate country. On the contrary: the Dalai Lama and the Dalai Lama's followers, the Tibetan people, do not want to separate from China, but envisage their future within China.
- China claims that the Dalai Lama is a wolf in sheep's clothing, a troublemaker who inciting against the motherland. On the contrary: the Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning religious leader, working for the well-being of the whole world, and wants only the exercise of basic human rights for his people by China;
- China claims that the Tibetan people enjoy equal treatment in their own territory. On the contrary, the Tibetan people are second- and third-class citizens in their homeland, politically and economically being exploited.
- China claims that Tibet has freedom of worship and that the right to use the mother tongue is regulated. In contrast, Tibetan Buddhism is severely restricted, worship of the Dalai Lama is banned, and the use of the mother tongue is severely restricted. The main religious sites are in fact reduced to tourist attractions. The practice of Christianity is undesirable, the practice of several spiritual paths is prohibited, such as Falun Dafa.
- China claims that the education of Tibetans in Tibet is fine. On the contrary: instead of using their own language, the use of Chinese Mandarin language prevails even in Tibetan areas. Tibetan language education exists only at primary school level. Tibetan schools are being closed en masse.
- China claims to be protecting Tibet's natural resources. In contrast, there is drastic plundering of nature in Tibetan areas, the complete misuse of water energy, at the expense and by the exploitation of the indigenous Tibetan people. Also Tibet has been heavily militarised for decades, with the resettlement of many hundreds of thousands of soldiers, military equipment, nuclear weapons as well as cemeteries against the traditional non-violent perceptions of the indigenous peoples.
- China claims that the democratic human rights standards in Tibet are in order. In contrast, if anyone in Tibet raises their voice in a non-violent way against China's oppressive, inhumane policies, must face a very severe punishment, long prison sentences, often death. Possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama or displaying a Tibetan flag is punishable by long years in detention camps.
Dear Prime Minister, how can such a country be considered a friendly country? How can the human rights shortcomings of such a country can be neglected? Mr Prime Minister, do not put yourself in the position of quoting a common Dakota proverb; a bird from the feather...
I would also mention the issue of the employment of Chinese police officers in Hungary. This agreement raises many problems. The Chinese police officers, it is explained, are coming to Hungary to guide the many Chinese tourists and to assist the Hungarian police officers in their work. As an example, the ministry cites the exchange of police officers from neighbouring countries during the tourist season. Of course, China cannot be compared with neighbouring countries. It is obviously known to the Prime Minister that the Chinese police officers' activities in Hungary were of course initiated by the Chinese side, as were almost all agreements between the two countries... The presence of Chinese police officers in Hungary raises the following questions:
- What are the grounds on which the armed forces of an anti-democratic regime
in Hungary can act?
- What guarantees that Chinese police officers will not conduct reconnaissance and other covert or overt human rights violations against Chinese or Tibetan persons residing in the country?
- If, for example, during the visit of the Chinese president to Hungary a Chinese or Hungarian citizen expresses an opinion against Chinese oppression, what is the authority of a Chinese officer? (see the case during the visit of President Erdogan)
- Is the fact that in several countries hundreds of Chinese police stations have been operating illegally and carrying out reconnaissance missions, gives a reason for uncertainty?
There must be excellent sinologists and Chinese-speaking professionals as advisors to the Prime Minister on the Chinese issue, but take some thoughts from me as well on this matter, as I myself have been involved in Eastern culture, tradition and politics for a long time. The Chinese way of thinking has nothing in common with the European way of thinking. Much more sophisticated, more forward-looking, more enigmatic, more insincere and when it comes to rub our palms together to see how well we've done, we soon find out that they're hard and relentless years of repayment. There's a reason why it's left in the East in most countries for thousands of years: never believe the Chinese!
Mr. Prime Minister, with Xi Jinping's visit to Hungary please consider the above and raise the issue of Tibet in the form of a comment in writing or at least verbally. In addition, I request that the persons advocating for the Tibetan issue should not be illegally harassed on the streets by the police and other authorities, because they are acting with the best and purest will for a people in difficulty, as I hope Mr. Prime Minister is doing for Hungary.
Best wishes for a fruitful and courageous negotiation on behalf of the Tibet Support Association Foundation:
Tibor Hendrey
Tibet Support Association


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