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Former British Government Minister joins local Tibetan Solidarity Day

June 12, 2008

Nick Raynsford MP pressures the Chinese Government
Nepal Tibetan Solidarity Forum
London, 10th June 2008
(Media Contact: Tsering -- 0791 506 42 43)

After meeting the Dalai Lama in May 2008, Nick Raynsford, a Member of
the British Parliament urged the Chinese Government to respect civil
rights in Tibet and to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama as
representative of the Tibetan people.

Speaking at an evening of Tibetan Solidarity in Greenwich on 7th June
he told over 100 Tibetans:

"I think that we have all been very conscious of the very worrying
events that have been taking place since the Chinese Repression of
the protests in March this year and the abuse of human rights
affecting Tibetan people.

I was fortunate to be able to be present when His Holiness the Dalai
Lama addressed the House of Commons in May.

I thought he gave a very impressive speech and even more impressive,
his answers to questions showed his deep humanity, his spirituality
but also his understanding of international relations and his real
concern to achieve a peaceful outcome.

I am hopeful that the opportunity we have at present time, with the
approach to the Olympic Games, will enable us throughout the
international community to bring pressure to bear on the Chinese
Government to respect the position of Tibet and to resume proper
discussions with the Dalai Lama.

I hope that those discussions can begin reasonably soon.

I am well aware of the worry and anxieties you have and others have
about whether or not the Chinese might try simply to drag out the
process of talks about the talks until after the Olympics Games when
some of the pressure may actually have passed. That is why it is
important at the moment that we send this very strong message.

I was also very pleased indeed that in the course of the speeches
that you emphasised that you have no hostility towards the Chinese
people. I represent Chinese people who live here in Greenwich and I
strongly support them. At times they disagree with the Chinese
Government but I represent them as Chinese people who live in Greenwich.

I was delighted to hear your very strong message that is no enmity
towards the Chinese community here or indeed to the Chinese people.

Your argument is rightly with the Chinese Government and the British
Government is supportive of your aspirations for both the respect of
human rights of Tibetans and also for the resumption of proper
negotiated discussions between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese
Government with a view to spelling out the framework which will allow
that aspiration for a degree of autonomy, which you seek, and which
the international community, certainly in Britain, supports.

So my concluding message to you is one of hope. One would hope that
despite the terrible events took place earlier this year in March and
despite the sacrifice and the sufferings of the people in Tibet who
have been subject to terrible repression - despite that - there is
opportunity. This is an opportunity which is recognised increasingly
in the international community.

The very fact that the process of the torch procession around the
world was in large measure, seen as an opportunity for people to
express concerns about the Chinese attitude towards Tibet and human
rights, has been a very significant influence.

I hope without violence, because I very strongly endorse the views of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the British Government that there
must be no violence, this must be a peaceful protest. I hope that
this protest will continue to make it's voice heard. So the Chinese
Government have to recognise the need to resume a proper negotiation
with the Dalai Lama as the representative of the people of Tibet."

He concluded on a lighter note, "I apologise for not being able to
speak in Tibetan like your Tibetan Parliamentarian!" The Right
Honourable Nick Raynsford has been MP for Greenwich since 1992.

Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Chithue Sonam Tsering Frasi
said, "The Tibetan issue can only be resolved by talking with the
Chinese." The twice elected Tibetan Parliamentarian emphasised, "His
Holiness the Dalai Lama is the only binding personality we Tibetans
have both inside and outside Tibet."

Ugyan Norbu, representing the local Tashi Ling Tibetans living in
London Borough of Greenwich said, "We welcome the support from our
Member of Parliament in Westminster for his solidarity. In Tibet,
there is no democracy. Solidarity is the key to our freedom for Tibet
to join the world."

Tsering, an organiser of the solidarity event said of recent protests
in Tibet, "The Tibetan people have shown us the courage to speak up
for freedom and democracy."

The event raised much needed funds for Nepal Tibetan Solidarity Forum
(NTSF) towards its continued efforts in keeping the issue of Tibet alive.

Tibetans in Nepal highly appreciate the support they continue to
receive both at home and from abroad. In his email message from
Kathmandu, Tashi Phuntsok, a core member of Nepal Tibetan Solidarity
Forum wrote, "The Tibetan Community in Nepal is very grateful for the
response and support received from the diplomatic missions of the EU
member states, USA and the UN-OHCHR. Similarly NTSF remains grateful
to the support and solidarity received from individuals and
Associations from people in the Himalayan region of Nepal."
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