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London protest calls for 'Global Action for Tibet' PDF Print E-mail
[22 October] Nearly 150 Tibetans and Tibet supporters protested on Saturday in London, calling for the international community to 'Stand Up for Tibet' in light of the recent immolations in Tibet. Fabian Hamilton MP addressed the protest outside the Chinese Embassy and a letter from UK-based Tibet groups was delivered to 10 Downing Street.

London protestThe first of two protests was held outside the Chinese Embassy. Under clear blue skies, Tibetans and supporters gathered, displaying banners, holding placards and waving Tibet flags. The placards portrayed all nine Tibetans who had self-immolated since March with the message "Enough!" and slogans including "China: End the occupation in Tibet", "China: Stop the repression in Tibet", "Religious Freedom for Tibet" and "Global Action for Tibet".

Fabian Hamilton MP (Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet) addressed the crowd, saying there was no excuse for the international community to ignore the plight of the Tibetan people any longer. He said he would "Stand up for Tibet" and urged everyone to do likewise. In particular, he called for the British government  to send a strong signal to Beijing that the ongoing repression in Tibet was unacceptable by making a public statement.

London protestRepresentatives from Student for a Free Tibet UK, Tibetan Community in Britain and Tibet Society also spoke to the crowd.

The protest then moved to Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, to send a clear message to the Prime Minister that the British government should make a public statement condemning the repression in Tibet and urge China to withdraw its troops from Kirti monastery. A letter, stating these requests in detail, was delivered to 10 Downing Street by representatives of the coalition of UK-based Tibet groups.

London protest(The protest was organised by a coalition of UK-based Tibet groups including Tibet Society, Students for a Free Tibet UK, Tibetan Youth UK, Free Tibet and Tibetan Community in Britain.)

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Letter to the Prime Minister from UK-based Tibet groups

Letter delivery to the Prime Minister
Right Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister   
10 Downing Street

22 October 2011

Dear Prime Minister

In light of the recent unprecedented self-immolations in Tibet and your governments stated commitment to the protection of human rights, we are writing as a coalition of UK Tibet support groups to ask the government to make a public statement on the current situation in Tibet.

Since March this year, eight young Tibetan monks and former monks, most of them teenagers, and one 19 year-old Tibetan nun have set themselves alight. Five of them lost their lives. Six of these self-immolations have taken place since 26 September.

These desperate acts of self-immolation are not happening in isolation. News has reached us of other demonstrations in Serthar county. In early October the Tibetan flag and a picture of the Dalai Lama were raised and around two hundred Tibetans gathered, chanting We want freedom and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama. Later in the month, a Tibetan national flag was hung up in front of the main Chinese security office and bi-lingual (Tibetan and Mandarin) leaflets calling for a free Tibet were distributed. On 16 October a protest broke out outside the police station in Khekor Township in Serthar County and Chinese security forces shot two Tibetans whose condition and whereabouts are unknown. All these protests occurred within 300 kilometres of Ngaba where eight of the self-immolations took place.

In March, the first monk, Phuntsok, self-immolated on the third anniversary of deadly shootings of protestors which took place in Ngaba in 2008. The Chinese authorities responded by sending in the paramilitary People's Armed Police, making dozens of arbitrary arrests, carrying out house searches and forcibly removing hundreds of monks from the monastery to an unknown location. A six-month-long patriotic re-education campaign was implemented at the monastery. A number of Tibetans have subsequently been given long prison sentences for their alleged involvement in protests and with the self-immolations. We regard these sentences as unsafe.

Internet and mobile services continue to be restricted in an attempt to prevent information coming in and out of Ngaba. Security forces continue to be stationed inside and outside of Kirti monastery. The abbot of Kirti monastery in exile, Kirti Rinpoche, said that currently "Kirti Monastery is worse than prison". There are 300-400 officials stationed inside the monastery with only 400 monks remaining in residence. A local described Ngaba town as being "under complete control".

China's crackdown in Tibet since 2008 and the current security build-up in Ngaba are intensifying Tibetan grievances and exacerbating the resentment and desperation felt across Tibet. In a recent Human Rights Watch report, figures taken from the Sichuan Statistical Yearbook for 2010 show that public security spending in Ngaba has increased sharply; in 2009 it stood at five times the average spent per person in non-Tibetan areas of Sichuan.

We were encouraged by the US State Departments alacrity in issuing statements on the self-immolations, "In light of the continuing underlying grievances of Chinas Tibetan population, we again urge Chinese leaders to respect the rights of Tibetans, to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tension, and to protect Tibetans unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity." 

We also are aware that the British government believes that "substantive dialogue with the Tibetan representatives" is "the only way to bring about a lasting and peaceful solution to the problems in Tibet." (Foreign Secretary July 2010)

In view of this belief and the Coalition Manifestos commitment to stand firm on human rights with China, and in the light of the deteriorating situation in Tibet, we strongly call on the government to:

Immediately issue a public statement of concern over the current situation in Tibet.

Publicly call on the Chinese government to respect the human rights of the Tibetan people, including the right to freely practise their religion, and to urgently address the underlying grievances of the Tibetan people.

Work with other world governments to issue a statement that calls on China to cease its repressive policies in Tibet and Tibetan areas, to respect the rights of the Tibetan people and to institute multi-lateral mechanisms to advocate for the Tibetan people in order to achieve justice and peace in Tibet.

Provide diplomatic support for substantive talks between China and Tibetan representatives in order to bring about a peaceful and just solution for the people of Tibet.

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Brigden, Director, Free Tibet
Philippa Carrick, CEO, Tibet Society
Karma Chura-Tsang, Director, Tibetan Youth UK       
Pempa Lobsang, Chair, Tibetan Community in Britain
Pema Yoko, National Co-ordinator, Students for a Free Tibet

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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