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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Will Gordon Brown stand up for basic human rights in Tibet?

March 8, 2008

>From Tibet Society, Free Tibet Campaign, Tibetan Community in Britain,
Students for a Free Tibet, Tibetan Youth UK

UK Tibet support groups call on Gordon Brown to meet the Dalai Lama
when he visits London in May.

London UK
7 March 2008

On Saturday 8 March, Tibetans and Tibet supporters march through
London to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan people's uprising in Lhasa
against the brutal and oppressive occupation by the People's
Liberation Army of China. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, to
be delivered to 10 Downing Street during the march, UK Tibet support
groups call on Gordon Brown to meet the Dalai Lama whilst he is in
London in May and give a positive commitment to finding justice for
the Tibetan people.

Citing the recent examples set by President George Bush and Chancellor
Angela Merkle, who both met the Dalai Lama in 2007, the groups urge
the Prime Minister to, "grasp the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama
and proactively support his unflaggingly non-violent campaign for a
just and fair solution for the people of Tibet".

With the world's attention on China for the Beijing Olympics in August
and London hosting the next Olympic Games in 2012, the groups go on to
say "it would be a great example to the world if the United Kingdom
took the lead in calling for the Chinese government to act on its
promises of reform for its people." They also quote David Miliband who
recently warned, "with the economic success of China, we can no longer
take the forward march of democracy for granted".

Tibet Society President, Norman Baker, MP, said "Gordon Brown needs to
demonstrate that his relations with China are about more than trade.
By meeting the Dalai Lama, he can send out a message that the plight
of the Tibetan people matters to him, that human rights are on his
radar, and that he will support those pursuing a non-violent approach.
To fail to meet him will tell us the opposite."

A letter will also be delivered to the Chinese Ambassador where the
groups urge the Chinese government to stop its demographic aggression
in Tibet and start real negotiations, without preconditions, with the
Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in Exile to find a just and fair
solution to Tibet.


Letter to the Prime Minister:

Dear Prime Minister,

The Dalai Lama will be in London in May at the invitation of the Tibet
Society and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet. In view of
the examples recently set by President George Bush and Angela Merkle,
we urge you, as Prime Minister, to grasp this opportunity and meet the
Dalai Lama and proactively support his unflaggingly non-violent
campaign for a just and fair solution for the people of Tibet.

The 10th March sees the annual commemoration of the 1959 Tibetan
people's uprising in Lhasa against the brutal and oppressive
occupation by the People's Liberation Army of China. It is an
appalling indictment to the apathy of world governments, that 49 years
later, there is still no resolution to the plight of the Tibetan
people.

Following the completion of the China-Tibet rail link in 2006, a
critical crossroads is fast approaching with more and more ethnic Han
Chinese migrants settling in Tibet. Tibetans are fast becoming an
ethnic minority in their own land with their own culture and language
being supplanted by that of the ethnic Han Chinese. If we do not act
soon Tibetan culture will disappear entirely, which will not only be a
great tragedy for the Tibetan people but also for the whole world.

Tibetans across the globe, both inside and outside Tibet, are now
taking the lead in advocating for their right to freedom and justice
for their country. The Tibetan People's Uprising Movement has been
established and on 10th March they will be setting out from
Dharamsala, north India with the aim of marching back to their country
to seek a peaceful resolution to the issue of Tibet. Tibetans inside
Tibet are also risking their own safety by calling for the return of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Only last November a Tibetan nomad,
Runggye Adak, without regard for the acceptable rule of law and fair
legal process, was jailed for eight years for simply calling for the
Dalai Lama's return to Tibet at a local horse racing festival.

With the Olympics being held in Beijing this year, China is under
world scrutiny. This gives world governments a unique opportunity to
hold the Chinese government to account not only on the pledges to
given to the International Olympics Committee but also on its
continuing abysmal record of human rights abuses, repression of
religious freedoms, freedom of expression and cultural genocide of
ethnic minorities.

As London will host the next Olympic Games in 2012, it would be a
great example to the world if the United Kingdom took the lead in
calling for the Chinese government to act on its promises of reform
for its people. China has had great economic growth, but as the
Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, recently said, "Now, with the
economic success of China, we can no longer take the forward march of
democracy for granted". A first step in encouraging China towards
democracy would be to urge the government to stop its demographic
aggression in Tibet and start meaningful negotiations with the Dalai
Lama and the Tibetan government in Exile for a just and fair solution
to Tibet. This would get commendation and plaudits worldwide.

Next year will mark 60 years since the People's Liberation Army first
went into Tibet and 50 years since His Holiness the Dalai Lama was
forced to flee his country for a life in exile. In the intervening
years over 100,000 Tibetans have chosen to escape the ongoing
draconian regime in Tibet and have made, and continue to make, the
gruelling journey over the Himalayas. The world needs to act now to
ensure Tibetans do not spend another 50 years in exile. It would be an
unforgivable and completely avoidable tragedy if the culture,
traditions and religion of this unique country were allowed to die.

We look forward to your response. In view of your public stance to
human rights abuses in Burma and Zimbabwe, we would expect you to both
meet the Dalai Lama and give a positive commitment to finding justice
for his people.

Letter to the Chinese Ambassador Fu Ying:

Your Excellency,


The 10th March sees the annual commemoration of the 1959 Tibetan
people's uprising in Lhasa against the brutal and oppressive
occupation by the People's Liberation Army of China. It is a sad
reflection of the Chinese government that 49 years later there is
still no resolution to the plight of the Tibetan people, despite the
Dalai Lama's unflaggingly non-violent campaign for a just and fair
solution for the people of Tibet and his willingness to seek
meaningful negotiations with your government.

Following the completion of the China-Tibet rail link in 2006, a
critical crossroads is fast approaching with more and more ethnic Han
Chinese migrants settling in Tibet. Tibetans are fast becoming an
ethnic minority in their own land with their own culture and language
being supplanted by that of the ethnic Han Chinese. If you do not act
soon Tibetan culture will disappear entirely, which will not only be a
great tragedy for the Tibetan people but also for the whole world.
Does your government want to be remembered as the regime that was
responsible for this?

 With the Olympics being held in Beijing this year, China is
increasingly under world scrutiny. This gives your government a unique
opportunity to set an example to the world by honouring the pledges
made to the International Olympics Committee and really making these
Olympics a "force for good". A first step in this process would be to
stop your demographic aggression in Tibet and start real negotiations,
without preconditions, with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government
in Exile to find a just and fair solution to Tibet. This would get
commendation and plaudits worldwide.

Undoubtedly, China has had great economic growth, but as the British
Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, recently said, "Now, with the
economic success of China, we can no longer take the forward march of
democracy for granted". Whilst the eyes of the world are on your
country for the Olympics, what better time is there to stand up and
show the world that not only can China be a success economically, but
is also committed to modernising and bring democracy to its people
including ethnic minorities. At the very least your government could
move forward to take its place as a member of a free and democratic
world by honouring your own constitution and the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and be open to objective appraisals and benchmarking.
It would be a brave step to take, but one that would be supported and
applauded by the Chinese people and world governments.

Next year will mark 60 years since China's People's Liberation Army
first went into Tibet and 50 years since His Holiness the Dalai Lama
was forced to flee his country for a life in exile. In the intervening
years over 100,000 Tibetans have chosen to escape the Chinese
administration's ongoing draconian regime in Tibet and have made, and
continue to make, the gruelling journey over the Himalayas. Your
government needs to act now to ensure there is resolution to the Tibet
issue. It would be an unforgivable and completely avoidable tragedy if
the culture, traditions and religion of this unique country were
allowed to die.

We look forward to your response. It would be very heartening if it
showed real willingness by your government to move forward and embrace
the commencement of meaningful negotiations for the emancipation of
the Tibetan people.

The signatories to the open letters are:
Philippa Carrick, CEO Tibet Society
Anne Holmes, Acting Director Free Tibet Campaign
Tenzin Samphel, Chairman Tibetan Community in Britain
Karma Chura-Tsang, Chairman Tibetan Youth UK
Iona Liddell, Board Member Students for a Free Tibet UK
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