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Czech Greens hoist Tibetan flag from parliament window

March 12, 2010
March 10, 2010

Prague - The Czech Green (SZ) deputies today hoisted the Tibetan flag from
the window of their group's office in the Chamber of Deputies to support
Tibet's fight for human rights.

They thus joined the international campaign Flag for Tibet in support of
Tibetans' non-violent struggle for their rights and national identity.

The Greens also placed Tibetan flags on their benches in the lower house.
They want to demonstrate their support to all nations and groups whose
rights are suppressed.

The Chamber of Deputies refused, mainly by the votes of the left, to debate
the proposal by the deputies' Group of Tibet's Friends that it condemn
China's steps, though Prime Minister Jan Fischer was for the idea.

The idea was dismissed by Pavel Kovacik, chairman of the Communist deputies.
He argued with economic interests.

"Even if economic interests are at stake, China is very sensitive to similar
steps. Those responsible will not vote for the point to be placed on the
agenda," Kovacik said.

Former Greens leader Martin Bursik at least read a six-point declaration
when the programme of the lower house session was being arranged.

The resolution says the situation in Tibet has not changed over the past two
years and Chinese authorities still violate Tibetans' rights, Bursik said.

"The Chamber of Deputies condemns the executions of Tibetans, Uygurs and
Chinese that have occurred in the past months and it calls on the
authorities of the People's Republic of China to stop using any violence,"
Bursik read.

"We devote persistent, continued effort to human rights. Moreover, the day
associated with human rights and their defence relates not only to Tibetans,
but to all cultures of nations and groups of people whose rights are
curtailed," Greens leader Ondrej Liska said.

"This is no PR event, but a question of championing the principles on which
some arrangement is based and to which this state does not sufficiently
adhere," Liska said.

Liska said the flag had been hoisted from the lower house window to make it
clear that this was a campaign by the Greens, not the Chamber of Deputies.
As a result, the Greens will not remove it even if asked by the Chamber of
Deputies leadership.

The Tibetan flag was also hoisted by Vlastimil Sehnal (Civic Democratic
Party, ODS), chairman of the Senate commission for the support to democracy
in the world, from the window of his office in the Senate building.

Neither the Chamber of Deputies nor the Senate have joined the campaign as

Sehnal said he mainly wanted to highlight Tibetans' oppression by the
Chinese regime.

Sehnal said he was not troubled by the expected protests of the Chinese

"Let the Chinese protest," Sehnal said, adding that all Chinese goods in the
Czech Republic and the EU should be labelled: "Produced in China in
concentration camps in which innocent people are imprisoned."

Sehnal said the commission was drafting a declaration against the practices
of the Chinese regime.

"We want the Senate to pass a resolution resolutely protesting against
imprisonment without a trial," Sehnal said, adding that three to five
million people were being detained in Chinese concentration camps without
any sentence.

Environment Minister Jan Dusik, nominated by the Greens, also hoisted the
Tibetan flag outside the office at 08:00 a.m.

The flag was there for thirty minutes until he left the building.

"This is no insistence on Tibet's independence, but support to Tibetans in
their effort to observe their civic and human rights," Dusik said.

Tibetan flags are expected to be hoisted by many town halls and regional
offices across the nation today.

Last year, over 350 town halls and two ministries joined the campaign.

Amnesty International will project a document by an imprisoned Tibetan film
maker outside the Chinese embassy in Prague at 18:00 today.

The campaign Flag for Tibet is held globally on March 10 to remember the
uprising against Chinese occupation of Lhasa, in which at least 80,000
Tibetans died. Czech advocates of Tibet joined it for the first time in
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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