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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?"

UK's Cameron urged to "Stand up for Tibet" on his first China trip

November 5, 2010

Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
November 4, 2010

Dharamsala, November 4 -- UK Tibet supporters are
calling on their Prime Minister David Cameron to
stand up for Tibet as he gears up to lead
Britain's "largest-ever delegation" to China sometime next week.

Mr Cameron will meet Chinese president Hu Jintao
as he pays an official visit to China from Nov. 9
to 10, at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The UK-based Free Tibet group, which stands for
the right of Tibetans to determine their own
future, has initiated an online petition campaign
- "Cameron: Stand Up for Tibet" - to urge Tibet
supporters worldwide to "join the thousands who
have already called on Mr Cameron to stand up for Tibetans while he is China".

This would also be Mr Cameron's first visit to
China after he took office in May and comes amid
pressure by the western nations on Beijing to
free jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo.
According to media reports, this would be the
"largest-ever delegation in British History" to China.

The delegation would be composed of Chancellor of
the Exchequer George Osborne, Secretary of State
for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne,
Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove and
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and
Skills Vincent Cable as well as about 50 leading
figures from the nation's industrial and commercial sectors.

In October 2008, just months after massive unrest
against Chinese rule broke out in Tibet, Britain
disappointed Tibetans, growing coalition of
academics and Tibet supporters by deciding to
accept China’s direct control over Tibet.

The move marked an unprecedented shift in its
policy, which for nearly a century has stopped
short of formally recognizing Tibet as part of Chinese territory.

In a little-noticed parliamentary statement on
Oct 29, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband
described a historic agreement dating back almost
a century, which acknowledged Chinese interest in
Tibet but asserted that Tibet had never been
fully part of the country, as an "anachronism"
and added: "Like every other EU member state, and
the United States, we regard Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China."

Many believe such an inattentive move by the
British government has further weakened the
position of the Tibetan exiles in their dialogues
with China to seek a “real and meaningful
autonomy" for their Himalayan homeland, which
Chinese communist troops invaded in 1949.

In the statement, British government,
nevertheless, gave strong backing to talks
between the Chinese Communist Party and envoys of
the Dalai Lama. He also backed the Dalai Lama's
call for autonomy, rather than independence, for
his homeland as a basis for agreement, and said
that the exiled Tibetan leader had actually met
conditions set by the Chinese government in order
to have dialogue for a negotiated settlement over Tibet.

"Our interest is in long-term stability, which
can only be achieved through respect for human
rights and greater autonomy for the Tibetans,” Milliband said in the statement.

Mr Cameron's visit also comes amid growing unrest
in Tibet's Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) region with Tibetan
school children protesting Chinese government's
forceful attempt to replace Tibetan language by
Chinese language as medium of instruction in Tibetan schools.

In Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet's government in
exile in north India, hundreds of school children
on Thursday took part in a solidarity peace march
to oppose what they described as Chinese
government’s deliberate move to "eliminate" the Tibetan language.

Following the widespread March 2008 unrest in
Tibet, China unleashed a new wave of crackdown in
Tibet to squelch all forms of dissent. And those
now targeted also include Tibetans once known for
having close ties to the government and for carefully eschewing politics.
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