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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetans protest after NZ Post covers up stamps

October 26, 2009

By Lincoln Tan
New Zealand Herald
October 24, 2009

An Auckland Tibetan group plans to file a
complaint against New Zealand Post because stamps
on its mail depicting the Tibetan flag are being
pasted over with the company's airmail stickers.

But a New Zealand Post spokesman said allowing
the group to print the stamps was a mistake, and
the act of covering the stamps was deliberate
because the group had breached terms and conditions for the stamps' use.

Individuals and groups can have their own stamps
designed which carry monetary value and can be used for postal services.

However, there are conditions regarding images used.

Friends of Tibet New Zealand issued two stamps
with images of the Tibetan flag on October 1 -
China's 60th National Day - to mark 50 years of "illegal occupation" by China.

"The labels are governed by terms and conditions
including the right of New Zealand Post to
decline use of an image for a number of reasons,
including those associated with any political
cause," said the New Zealand Post spokesman.

"The labels in this case were produced in error,
contrary to the terms and conditions, and provided to the customer."

He said the group had been informed, and New
Zealand Post "chose to cover the images where we
could" when it found out the stamps had already been distributed.

Friends of Tibet chairman Thuten Kesang said the
group paid $4700 to produce 1500 stamps in $1 and 50c denominations.

"We paid good money to produce those stamps, and
it is only right that its use be treated as no
different to any other New Zealand Post postage,"
he said. "It is very disappointing. I don't know
whether it is illegal, but it is definitely
unfair and unethical for New Zealand Post to be doing something like this."

He said many "friends and supporters" of Tibet
had wanted to keep the stamps as a collectors'
item, but were unable to do so because they were
damaged by the airmail stickers pasted over them.

China regards Tibet as part of its territory, but
Tibetans say the region has been occupied
unlawfully since Chinese soldiers entered it in 1950.
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