Tibet: Special EU Hearing
Wednesday's [25 March 2009]news comes in the wake of new video footage allegedly showing Chinese security personnel violently beating Tibetans.
The hearing, organised by parliament's foreign affairs committee, will take place on 31 March  and is seen as a possible chance to reopen direct talks between the two parties.
So far, however, only the Tibetan side have accepted an invitation from parliament to take part in the talks. Parliament is still awaiting a response from the Chinese government.
It is designed to intensify pressure on the Chinese to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama's envoys.
Italian ALDE deputy Marco Cappato called on the Chinese regime to "seize the positive momentum" and attend the one-day hearing.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to the EU, Song Zhe, has written an open letter to all MEPs appealing to them to adopt an "unbiased" approach to the Tibet issue.
Relations between the EU and Beijing have been strained following the condemnation of China's military response to last year's  uprising in Tibet and the decision to invite the Dalai Lama to address a parliamentary plenary last autumn.
The appeal to MEPs comes ahead of the EU-China summit which is expected to take place in Prague in May .
In the letter, the diplomat says, "A number of incidents caused by this misunderstanding has had a negative impact on relations between China and Europe.
"I feel duty-bound to present some facts and figures about Tibet, to explain Tibet's road of development since democratic reform 50 years ago, its achievements and to clarify the Chinese government's position towards the Dalai Lama.
"I hope this will contribute to a more comprehensive and objective understanding of Tibet."
In the letter, sent to all deputies, the ambassador says that in 1959, a minority of Tibetans launched a "full-scale armed rebellion" against the mainland.
"The Central People's government and the people of Tibet together put down the rebellion, carried out democratic reform, abolished the theocratic feudal serfdom and liberated millions of serfs and slaves," it said.