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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

UK: Olympic Torch Illuminates Lack of China Rights Policy “No Strategy” to Address Tibet, Olympic-Related Rights Crises

April 5, 2008

Human Rights Watch

(London, April 4, 2008) – In welcoming the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay
outside 10 Downing Street, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is
sending the Chinese government exactly the wrong message on its ongoing
crackdown in Tibet and on human rights advocates in China, Human Rights
Watch said today.

The Olympic torch, which was lit in Beijing on March 31, is expected to
be a flashpoint for human rights-related protests as it travels through
20 countries. The torch will pass through London on Sunday, April 6.

“The Prime Minister should use this occasion to speak publicly about
China’s Olympian abuses,” said Tom Porteous, Human Rights Watch’s London
Director. “The main thing the Olympic Torch Relay illuminates in Britain
is the government’s apparent lack of a public strategy to address
Olympic-related human rights issues in China in advance of the Beijing
Games.”

Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous human
rights abuses in China related to its hosting of the 2008 Summer Games,
including media and internet censorship, extrajudicial house arrests,
repression of civil society, abuses of migrant construction workers in
Beijing, forced evictions and the ongoing crackdown on protests in
Tibet. This week, leading human rights advocate Hu Jia was given a three
and a half year sentence for criticizing the Chinese government in the
context of the Games. Last week Yang Chunlin earned a five year sentence
for having begun a petition entitled “We want human rights, not the
Olympics.”

“Thus far we have seen no strategy from Brown or other government
leaders to address human rights,” said Porteous. “With London becoming
the next Olympic host city, the Prime Minister needs to clearly
articulate the UK’s human rights values and distance the country from
the abuses linked to the Beijing Games.”

Human Rights Watch has called for the Olympic torch not to go through
the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, as scheduled on June 20-21 unless the
Chinese government agrees to an independent investigation into its
repression of protests there
(http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/03/24/china18334.htm). Human Rights
Watch has urged Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other heads of
government who have been invited to the opening or closing ceremonies of
the Games to condition their attendance on human rights improvements
(http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/01/16/china17777.htm).

For more information, please contact:

In London, Tom Porteous (English): +44-20-7713-2766; or +44-79-8398-4982
(mobile)
In Hong Kong, Nicholas Bequelin (English, French, Mandarin):
+852-8198-1040 (mobile)
In Washington, DC, Sophie Richardson (English, Mandarin):
+1-202-612-4341; or +1-917-721-7473 (mobile)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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