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Lhamo Tso: UK tour - November 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Lhamo Tso arrived in the UK on Sunday 6 November for a two week tour organised by Tibet Society. During her visit Lhamo Tso met parliamentarians at Westminster and in Edinburgh, officials from the Foreign Office, members of the Tibetan community in Britain, fellow activists from various NGOs, schoolchildren, supporters of the Tibet cause and the general public.

View Lhamo Tso's video appeal  I  Take action for Dhondup Wangchen

Lhamo Tso's UK Tour November 2011
Lhamo Tso in LondonAfter meeting Thubten Samdup, the Dalai Lama's representative for Northern Europe and the UK, on her first full day, Lhamo Tso spent most of the rest of the first week meeting MPs and Foreign Office officials. She raised her concerns about Dhondup (the lack of medical treatment and limited communication with family members) and appealed for pressure to be exerted on the Chinese goverment to release Dhondup on medical parole.

On Tuesday 8 November, Tibet Society hosted a special meeting at the House of Commons to which MPs were invited to meet Lhamo Tso and view Leaving Fear Behind.

Lhamo Tso and Fabian HamiltonThe following day, Lhamo Tso had a lunch meeting with Fabian Hamilton MP (Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet - APPGT) (pictured right) and Norman Baker MP (President of Tibet Society) and tea in the House of Lords with Lord Alton (Vice-chair of the APPGT). Whilst at Westminster Lhamo Tso also had the opportunity to briefly meet Jeremy Browne MP (Minister of State for the Foreign Ofice), Douglas Alexander MP (Foreign spokesperson for the Opposition) and Simon Hughes MP (Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems), all of whom she gave copies of the DVD Leaving Fear Behind.

APPGT meetingLhamo Tso was also the special guest at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet on Wednesday 10 November, where she also met MPs Nic Dakin, Cathy Jamieson and James Gray, all of whom had participated in the MP exchange programme to Dharamsala hosted by Tibet Society in October. (Read about the MPs visit in Tibet Society's blog).

Lhamo Tso at the Foreign OfficeOn Friday 11 November, Tibet Society arranged a meeting with Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials. Prior to the meeting, FCO workers were invited to a lunchtime screening of Leaving Fear Behind and a panel discussion by Lhamo Tso, Philippa Carrick (CEO of Tibet Society) and Kate Saunders (International Campaign for Tibet). Over 40 civil servants attended the event, primarily from Asia region desks and the Human Rights and Democracy Department. It was apparently one of the best attended lunchtime sessions at the FCO! The meeting itself included two representatives from the Human Rights and Democracy Department and representatives from the Far Eastern section of the Foreign Office.

As well as Westminster, Lhamo Tso also visited Holyrood in Edinburgh. A special meeting was organised at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 16 November, which was attended by MSPs, including Roderick Campbell, Linda Fabiani, Hugh Henry and Anne McTaggart as well as numerous parliamentary researchers (pictures below). Lhamo Tso's visit to the Scottish Parliament has reignited interest in the Tibet cause, and a Cross Party Group for Tibet is likely to be formed in the New Year. (Tibet Society will keep abreast of the situation and inform members once the Group has been formalised.)
At the Scottish ParliamentLhamo Tso speakingLhamo Tso and Scottish MSPs

During her visit Lhamo Tso met with a number of representatives of NGOs, including Amnesty International and those involved with Chinese Uighur Tibetan Solidairty UK, and visited two schools, Primrose School in Chalk Farm, Primrose SchoolLondon (pictured right) and Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, Northumberland. Lhamo Tso particularly enjoyed the interaction with the children and was impressed with not only their questions but their support for Dhondup's case and human rights in general. Another highlight of the visit for Lhamo Tso was meeting Tibetans across the UK, and two meetings were held especially for the Tibetan communities in London and Bristol. Lhamo Tso also travelled to Hull, as the special guest for the Students for a Free Tibet UK annual conference.

Edinburgh public talkAn important component of Lhamo Tso's visit was to engage with the public and increase awareness of Dhondup's case. To that end Tibet Society organised a series of public talks around the UK. The first was held in central London at St Georges Bloomsbury on Friday 11 November. During the second week of the tour Lhamo Tso spoke at the Assembly House in Norwich (Monday 14), the Civic Hall in Leeds (Tuesday 15), the Himalaya Cafe in Edinburgh (pictured right) (Wednesday 16), the Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle
(pictured right below) (Thursday 17) and Hamilton House in Bristol (Saturday 19). Each of the public events included screenings of Leaving Fear Behind and the three minute short film Dhadon's Letter to Dhondup, a talk by Lhamo Tso and a question and answer session.

Newcastle public talkAt each of the talks the audience was captivated by Lhamo Tso's courage and her dedication not only to the campaign for her husband's release but to Tibetan freedom. Lhamo Tso explained to the audiences that she was camapigning not only for Dhondup's release but for the release of all Tibetan political prisoners. She urged everyone to write to their MPs and the Chinese authorities on Dhondup's case requesting medical treatment, regular communication with family members and, most importantly, an early release via medical parole. She also encouraged letters to be written directly to Dhondup, as this can often lead to better treatment by prison officials, even if Dhondup does not receive the letters.

Lhamo TsoTibet Society would like to thank everyone who assited to organise and run the events, and particularly those who offered accommodation and meals during the tour. A special thanks to Lhakpa Pemba and Tsering Passang for translation services, and of course, the biggest of all thanks to Lhamo Tso, who was willing to undertake such a lengthy and hectic schedule without any second thought. Her courage and determination is an inspiration to us all.

If you are not already a member of Tibet Society, please support by joining or giving a donation, to help our campaigning and lobbying efforts and to provide further opportunities for tours such as Lhamo Tso's. Thank you.

View Lhamo Tso's video appeal: http://bit.ly/TS-LTA
Take Action for Dhondup Wangchen: http://bit.ly/DW-act
Download the action sheet for Dhondup Wangchen: http://bit.ly/DW-pdf

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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