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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibet Speech In Hong Kong Postponed After China Complains-Organizers

March 19, 2009
March 18, 2009

HONG KONG (AFP) -- A talk in Hong Kong by an
international activist backing Tibetan
self-determination has been postponed after China
voiced its disapproval, organizers said Wednesday.

Kate Saunders, the Washington-based International
Campaign for Tibet's communications director, had
been scheduled to speak at Hong Kong's Foreign
Correspondents' Club, or FCC, on Tuesday.

But the event was postponed after the Hong Kong
office of China's Foreign Ministry suggested to
the FCC the talk was too one-sided and should
include a speaker representing Beijing's views, said FCC president Ernst Herb.

"As you can expect, they are not very happy with
that (the subject of the talk)," Herb said.

The FCC board was set to meet late Wednesday to
discuss whom they should invite to speak
alongside Saunders when the event is rescheduled.

Saunders, whose talk was entitled "A Great
Mountain Burned by Fire: Reflections on New
Expressions of Dissent and the Crisis in Tibet,"
said she would be happy to share the stage with a
representative from the Chinese government.

"Debate is something that we always welcome," she said by telephone.

No one from the foreign ministry was available
for comment when contacted by journalists.

However, in a reply to a query from the Hong
Kong-based South China Morning Post, the foreign
ministry said, "We firmly opposed Tibetan
separatists to come to Hong Kong for any separatist activities."

It was the second time in a month that Beijing's
views had been cited in connection with the postponement of an FCC event.

Earlier this month, ousted Thai prime minister
Thaksin Shinawatra canceled a public appearance
at the club to avoid upsetting the "friendly
relationship" between Thailand and China.

His decision came after current Thai Prime
Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he would ask Beijing to extradite Thaksin.

A week later Thaksin made a speech to the club by video from Dubai.

Chinese authorities have carried out a security
crackdown in recent weeks in a bid to quell
possible unrest as Tibetans marked the 50th
anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese
rule in the mountainous region.

Hong Kong has a different legal system from
mainland China and enjoys greater freedoms of speech and media.

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