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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."

ADVISORY: APPG for Tibet: Special meeting 17 March & EDMs

March 8, 2009

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (UK)
March 6, 2006

For Information ref. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet

Tibet: 1959-2009. 50 years of oppression; 50 years of resistance.

Tuesday 10 March sees the 50th Anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising. Following the protests and demonstrations that erupted throughout Tibet during 2008, the situation inside Tibet remains tense, with many areas under martial law. January 2009 saw a renewed “strike hard” campaign that severely curtails freedom of movement and engenders an atmosphere of fear. The forced “patriotic re-education” of nuns and monks has also been intensified. In the last couple of days has been the news that a young monk (in his 20s) called Tapay self immolated holding an image of the Dalai Lama and a Tibetan flag. He was reported to have cried “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama”. Tapay was shot three times by nearby Chinese police and his body taken away; it was not clear if he had been killed. Just this one incident gives a worrying indication of the level of tension and desperation that pervades in Tibet under the weight of Chinese government oppression.

The All Party Parliamentary Group has arranged a special meeting for members, MPs and researchers to meet ex-political prisoner, Palden Gyatso. There are also quite a number of other events coming up including a wreath laying at the Memorial to Innocent Victims at Westminster Abby at midday on the 10th March and an exhibition of art by refugee Tibetan children in the Upper Waiting Hall, House of Commons between 9-13th March.

EDMs: An EDM has been tabled to mark the Anniversary (No. 978) and one will be tabled shortly to welcome Palden Gyatso to Westminster. The former is mentioned in the “Asks” that will be given to MPs at the planned Mass Lobby for Tibet at Westminster on 10 March. It would be great to see this get a lot of signatories to show the strength of support there is for Tibet in the House of Commons.

Please see below for further details of the EDMs and upcoming events. If you would like to attend the APPGT special meeting, please call Terry or myself on 020 7272 1414 or email apgt@btinternet.com. Thanks.

Philippa
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Special meeting:

Tuesday 17 March: Meeting Palden Gyatso, ex-political prisoner

4pm, Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House

We are delighted to welcome Palden Gyatso to Westminster and have the opportunity to hear of his experiences as a political prisoner in Tibet and  his subsequent work in highlighting and speaking out on behalf of Tibet. Palden Gyatso is a truly remarkable individual and a man, who despite his many years of suffering, has a strength, humour and compassion that inspire all who meet him. A Tibetan Buddhist monk since childhood, he was arrested by the Chinese army in 1959 and spent the next 33 years in prison and labour camps for the ‘crimes’ of demonstrating peacefully and refusing to falsely denounce his teacher as an Indian spy. Whilst in prison he was tortured, starved and forced to perform hard labour.  A film, Fire Under the Snow, has recently been made based on Palden’s life and testimony; this is being screened in London on 8th March and will have a limited countrywide tour.

EDM 978: The 50th Anniversary on 10 March 2009 of the Tibetan National Uprising

This House notes the 50th Anniversary on 10 March 2009 of the Tibetan National Uprising; draws attention to the unique historical position of Great Britain and Tibet whereby Great Britain had direct diplomatic and trade links with Tibet and maintained a permanent diplomatic mission in Tibet between 1933-1947, further notes the written Ministerial Statement of 29 October 2008 which changed the British government’s long held position on the status of Tibet that was made without receiving any assurance from the Chinese government to make genuine progress on the issue of Tibet, and in view of the government’s strong concerns on human rights issues inside Tibet also expressed in the ministerial statement, including the situation of those remaining in detention, the increased constraints on religious activity and the limitations on free access to the Tibet Autonomous Region by diplomats and journalists, urgently calls on the government to act on these concerns and give effect to its stated commitment to seek a solution for Tibet, and further calls on the government to draft a list of practical actions that address these issues, with a clear framework to monitor progress, that the Chinese government can adopt in order to work to bring about genuine justice to the Tibetan people.

Upcoming Tibet events

Saturday 7 March: TIBET FREEDOM MARCH & RALLY

March assembly point: Opposite Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London, W1B 1JL
Time: Assemble 11.30am. March commences 12.00.

Organised by a coalition of UK Tibet groups, this annual freedom march for Tibet is of greater significance than ever this year with it being the 50th commemoration of the Tibetan people’s uprising and one year on from the protests and demonstrations in Tibet that led to the death of over 200 Tibetans, with thousands more detained, summarily tried and draconian sentences being meted out. Today over 1,000 Tibetans remain missing. The march will be one of many being staged worldwide.

Rally @ Trafalgar Square: from approx 1.15pm.

Speakers at the rally in Trafalgar square include: Tibetan, ex-political prisoner, Palden Gyatso, Norman Baker MP, Shao Jiang, writer on civil and human rights, and Tibetans living in the UK telling of their struggle.

8 March: LONDON PREMIERE OF ‘FIRE UNDER THE SNOW’ FEATURING A Q&A WITH PALDEN GYATSO

Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square. Doors: 5.30pm, screening: 6.00pm.
Tickets available through box office on 0870 811 2559

In the year of the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising, Fire Under the Snow, the life story of Palden Gyatso, bears poignant testimony both to the brutal oppression that Tibetans have suffered under Chinese occupation and the determined resistance they have shown in response.
Tour dates:

14 March: Cardiff, Chapter Cinema, 8.15pm.  Box office 029 2031 1050

15 March: Bristol, Watershed Cinema, 1.10pm.  Box office 0117 927 5100

18 March: Norwich, Cinema City, 8.30pm.  Box office 0871 704 2053

19 March: Edinburgh, Picture House Cinema, 10am. Tickets via Tibet Society 020 727 1414

9-13 March: EXHIBITION OF ART BY TIBETAN CHILDREN NEWLY ARRIVED IN INDIA AND NEPAL
Upper Waiting Hall, House of Commons

This exhibition has been put on by Art Refuge and is sponsored by Julie Morgan, MP.

Tuesday 10 March: WREATH LAYING AT MEMORIAL TO INNOCENT VICTIMS, WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Memorial to Innocent Victims, outside the Great West Door, Westminster Abbey; Time: 12.00 midday

A wreath laying ceremony in remembrance of those who have lost their lives or suffered torture and imprisonment as a result of China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950. The service will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster and His Eminence Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche and has been arranged by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet and Tibet Society.

Tuesday 10 March: MASS LOBBY AT HOUSE OF COMMONS, WESTMINSTER
Central Lobby, House of Commons, Westminster; Time: from 14.30

Mass Lobbies are being planned in capitals around the world to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising including Brussels, London, New Delhi, Ottawa and Washington. A coalition of UK Tibet groups have organised a lobby day at Westminster to commemorate the Uprising and call on MPs to take action on their constituents’ urgent concerns about Tibet.

Tuesday 10 March: CANDLELIT VIGIL AND PRAYERS OPPOSITE CHINESE EMBASSY
Opposite Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London, W1B 1JL; Time: 5.00-7.30pm.

The 50th anniversary will end with prayers conducted by His Eminence Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche and a candlelit vigil opposite the Chinese Embassy.

Philippa Carrick
Group Administrator
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet
Secretariat: The Tibet Society
Unit 9, 139 Fonthill Road, London N4 3HF
Tel: +44 (0)20 7272 1414  Fax: +44 (0)20 7272 1410
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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