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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Report on Bianca Jagger at Westminster for Tibet

June 24, 2012

Bianca Jagger: "We appeal to you Prime Minister to support Tibet"   

At a press conference held today in Westminster, human rights advocate Bianca Jagger issued a statement expressing her grave concerns for the Tibetan people living under China’s increasingly repressive regime in Tibet.

Noting the strong historical connection the UK has with Tibet, Ms Jagger began by saying, “There is a historic relationship between Tibet and Britain, and an old friendship. Britain was the only country to deal with Tibet as an independent nation before China's invasion in 1949. Recognising those ties, we’re here today with the Tibet Society in the UK, the most long-standing Tibet support group worldwide and among its founders are some of the British who served in Tibet in those early days. With that special connection in mind, we are here today to deliver a message to the UK government, in the week before the Dalai Lama's arrival in the UK. The Dalai Lama – a global icon of peace – will receive the Templeton Award on Monday at St Paul’s Cathedral.”

Ms Jagger went on critique China’s policies in Tibet, saying, “Over the past 60 years, the Chinese government has instituted increasingly hardline policies that undermine Tibetan culture and religion. The Tibetan people have been denied freedom of expression. Their language has been downgraded. And their economic resources have been appropriated by the Chinese state, with increasing numbers of Chinese migrants moving to the Tibetan plateau.”

She also drew attention to the critical geopolitical role Tibet has, commenting, “It is not enough to treat Tibet as simply a moral issue of persecution of Tibetans – it is also of unique geopolitical and strategic significance. Resolving the issue of Tibet – the high plateau lies between the two nuclear giants India and China - is tied to Asian and international security.”

Noting the urgency of the situation, Bianca Jagger ended her statement saying, “In a critical year for China, in which Chinese Communist Party divisions are exposed amidst a new clamour for genuine reform, more visible engagement from the international community on the crisis in Tibet is urgently needed. I appeal to Prime Minister David Cameron to lead the multilateral efforts in support of Tibet at this critical time in Tibet's history.”

She went on to urge governments of the Member-States of the European Union to:

• Consistently express strong, collective concern to China’s leaders at the highest political level about repressive policies and call for the withdrawal of security forces from all Tibetan areas.

• Renew pressure on China to permit a high level EU delegation to visit all parts of Tibet, including the regions where self-immolations have taken place.

• To appoint a EU Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues as recommended by the European Parliament, in order to strengthen the Union’s policies on Tibet.

• To seek the release of Tibetan political prisoners, including Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the Eleventh Panchen Lama of Tibet.

• To express concern about Tibet in appropriate multilateral fora, including the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The press conference was chaired by Cathy Jamieson MP, member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet who picked up on points raised in Ms Jagger’s statement and reminded everyone present that Tibet matters, not just for Tibetans but to millions of people throughout the world, both because of its unique culture, religion and traditions and being the world’s third pole and key water source for much of Asia.

Outside parliament a banner was displayed saying “David Cameron, Tibet needs you now”. Bianca Jagger, Cathy Jamieson, joined by Nic Dakin MP, added their messages to the banner. Ms Jagger made a further direct appeal to David Cameron to support Tibet. Cathy Jamieson reiterated that Tibet matters, adding, “please show leadership and stand up for Tibetan people. Nic Dakin called on David Cameron to, “listen to the people of Tibet. They deserve our support”. Further messages will be collected before the banner’s delivery to 10 Downing Street.

Bianca Jagger and Cathy Jamieson then made their way to Downing Street to hand in two reports about Tibet to No 10; The Human Rights Crisis Tibet - Europe must act released today by the Society of Threatened peoples and 60 Years of Chinese Misrule: Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet recently published by International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).

Both reports condemn the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet. In their publication statement, the Society for Threatened Peoples draw attention to the fact that human rights violations in Tibet have increased dramatically since spring 2008, saying, “Since then, 1134 Tibetans have been arrested for political reasons. At least 527 political prisoners are still in Chinese custody. Until this day, the Chinese government has ignored appeals of the United Nations Convention against Torture and of UN human rights experts, that the fundamental human rights of the arrested Tibetans must be observed.”

In its findings ICT commented, “Chinese policies and practices of cultural repression and destruction are so systematic and persistent in Tibet, and their effects are so serious, that they contain elements of cultural genocide.”

The Society for Threatened Peoples report calls on European governments to make stronger public expressions of concern; to press China to allow a high level EU delegation to visit Tibetan areas and to appoint an EU Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues. Both reports can be read online (see links below).

The actions in London today begin the countdown to a European Solidarity Rally for Tibet that is being held in Vienna on Saturday 26 May where the Dalai Lama will be giving an address.

Report available online:
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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