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Serfs Emancipation Day: Ex-political prisoner demonstrates outside Chinese embassy

March 29, 2009

From Tibet Society

London UK, Friday 27 March 2, 2009]

On the eve of "Serfs Emancipation Day," a new
public holiday that the Chinese government has
imposed on the Tibetan people, ex-political
prisoner, Palden Gyatso, was joined by members of
the UK Tibetan community in a demonstration
outside the Chinese embassy in London.

Kneeling on the pavement, handcuffed and gagged,
wearing shirts with the message "I’m Tibetan and
I am NOT emancipated”, the group gave a strong
rebuttal to the Chinese government’s hypocritical
and cynical propaganda that Tibetans were
liberated 50 years ago.1 If they had taken this
action inside Tibet, they would have been met
with swift and brutal reprisals that could have
resulted in beatings, detention and even death.

Palden Gyatso, witness to China’s brutal
crackdown in Tibet following the Tibetan people’s
uprising in 1959 said, “We are remembering this
day not as the day when Tibet was liberated, but
imprisoned instead. Before China’s Red Army
marched into Tibet, we enjoyed freedom of speech,
freedom of movement and freedom of religion. But
since the invasion, repressive surveillance and restrictions were imposed."2

Tibet Society Chairman, Fredrick Hyde-Chambers,
and Chief Executive, Philippa Carrick, joined
this historic demonstration that exercised the
basic human right to freedom of peaceful
assembly, a right denied Tibetans in Tibet.

Philippa Carrick said, "it is salutary to think
that if we had done this simple action in Lhasa,
we would have been risking our lives and the
lives of our families. The situation inside Tibet
is critical; after 50 years of occupation,
subjugation and repression, Tibetans are
desperate. What little news that gets out of
Tibet tells of continued demonstrations, arrests,
severe crackdowns and, tragically, suicides. A
member of the group protesting here today
recently received news that his best friend,
Tashi Sangpo, a Tibetan monk from the Amdo Golok
Ragya monastery, committed suicide. Unfortunately
this is not an isolated incident and is a tragic
indication of the current intense frustration and
despair Tibetans are feeling inside Tibet."

[ends]

For background/further information contact:
Philippa Carrick, Chief Executive, Tibet
Society:  020 7272 1414 / 07941 105 485 email: philippa@tibetsociety.com

Terry Bettger, Campaigns Officer, Tibet
Society:  020 7272 1414 / 07910 056606 email: terry@tibetsociety.com

Background Notes to editors

1) Photos from outside the Chinese Embassy, 27 March 2009
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tibetsociety/sets/72157615982854056/

2) Palden Gyatso’s Serfs Emancipation Day message
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQdbQVt0LB4&feature=channel_page

General background
Palden Gyatso was a young monk living in Tibet
when the People’s Liberation Army came in to
"liberate" the Tibetan people. He was witness to
the Tibetan People’s uprising on 10 March 1959
and was arrested for peacefully demonstrating in
Lhasa. He spent the next 33 years in jail or
labour camp, suffering horrific torture and
deprivation. In the UK for a short tour to
accompany screenings of a new film of his life,
Palden has been urging people to use the
democratic freedoms they enjoy in the UK to call
on the British government to take positive action
for Tibet, such as sending an independent
delegation to Tibet to see firsthand what the conditions are for Tibetans.

The Chinese government continues to deny any such
reasonable requests and Tibet remains under de
facto martial law. There is no media access and
there is currently a stop on tourist visas. When
asked why Tibet is under lockdown and why
Tibetans still risk their lives to demonstrate on
the streets, visiting Chinese scholars in London
this week tried to insist that Tibet was open and
accessible and Tibetans enjoy a harmonious and
stable life. However they went on to admit there
were currently temporary restrictions due to
possible unrest because of the anniversaries in
March. The very same anniversaries Tibetans are
supposed to be celebrating as a liberated people.

Film footage from inside Tibet

 From the Tibetan government in exile
(www.tibet.net): http://footage.tibetanbridges.com/Torture-in-Tibet.mov

Alternative link: http://blip.tv/file/1903244

NB. This video was also shown on Youtube. The site is now blocked in China.
___________________________________________
The Tibet Society

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7272 1414  Fax: +44 (0)20 7272 1410

8 http://www.tibetsociety.com/

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