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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."

Prince Charles used in campaign to boycott Beijing Olympics

January 30, 2008

Free Tibet Campaign urging public figures to stay away

Owen Bowcott
Monday January 28, 2008
Guardian Unlimited


The Prince of Wales' decision not to attend the Beijing Olympics is
being used as the launchpad for an international campaign to persuade
public figures to boycott the games.

Prince Charles has confirmed to the London-based Free Tibet Campaign
that he has no plans to attend the opening ceremony in the Chinese
capital. The Prince has not received a formal invitation but has
recently been courted by the Chinese Ambassador in London in a bid to
improve relations.

Prince Charles' public support for the Dalai Lama, Tibet's independent
spiritual leader, and his disparaging remarks about Chinese officials at
the handover of Hong Kong have been a public embarrassment for Beijing.
In leaked diaries, written during in 1997, the Prince notoriously
referred to senior Chinese officials as "appalling old waxworks".

The Free Tibet Campaign, which opposes the Chinese occupation of the
Himalyan country, is not calling for athletes to stay away from the
summer's Olympics. But it is hoping to encourage public figures to
declare that they will stay away in protest at human rights abuses and
China's refusal to grant Tibet independence.

"We are not calling for any sort of boycott by the athletes, they have
been training for years," said Anne Holmes, director of the Free Tibet
Campaign. "What we would like to see is as many as possible high profile
public figures making a principled decision to stop at home - and watch
it on TV. We would hope this would include Gordon Brown, who has been
invited to go back to Beijing for the Olympics. We can't say what Prince
Charles is thinking but Clarence House [the Prince's London residence]
has written back to us to confirm that he is still very friendly towards
Tibet."

The Prince has met the Dalai Lama several times. In a letter to the
campaign, Clive Alderton, his deputy private secretary, confirmed the
Prince would not attend the opening ceremony. "As you know, His Royal
Highness has long taken a close interest in Tibet and indeed has been
pleased to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama on several occasions," he
wrote. "You asked if the Prince of Wales would be attending the opening
ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. His Royal Highness will not be
attending the ceremony."

Publication of the letter is likely to be regretted by the government,
which has attempted to build strong economic and cultural ties with the
China. A spokeswoman for Clarence House told The Guardian yesterday:
"There are no current plans for [the Prince] to go to the Olympics. As a
rule he doesn't attend. He went when the Princess Royal was competing in
Montreal in 1976. The Prince of Wales ... takes an interest in the
siuation in Tibet and he hopes as long term peaceful solution will be
reached after some dialogue."

Both Princess Anne, who is president of the British Olympic Association,
and Prince Edward are likely to go to Beijing.

Last month Tibetan exiles failed to convince the International Olympic
Committee that they should allow their athletes to compete as an
independent national team under the title 'Team Tibet'. The country has
been occupied by Chinese troops since 1950.
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