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[10 March 2013] Text of the letter from coalition of UK-based Tibet groups delivered to China's Ambassador to the UK on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. The letter calls on the Chinese government to review its existing policies in Tibet and take measures that give the Tibetan people the rights they are entitled to.

His Excellency Liu Xiaoming
Ambassador, Peoples Republic of China
Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL

10 March 2013

Your Excellency,

Today marks the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against Chinas occupation of Tibet. As can be seen from the sustained and widespread actions, protests and demonstrations by Tibetans in Tibet it is clear, 54 years after the Uprising, that Tibetan people do not accept the continued imposition of Chinas occupation and rule in Tibet.

At Westminster in April 2008, during a parliamentary adjournment debate on Tibet, Dr Kim Howells, the then Minister of State for the Foreign Office commented, It is always a mistake - and we have tried it at times in our own history - to try to hide what happens. Those things will bubble to the surface and the sense of frustration increases.

Chinas Communist Party continues to do exactly that: hide what is happening in Tibet. As Tibetan resistance and frustration to your governments policies rises, your government continues to fabricate the truth through unverifiable statements and propaganda claims that paint a wonderfully rosy picture of a Tibet where Tibetans are happy, healthy and prosperous.

The truth is that happy, healthy, prosperous and free people do not choose to self-immolate, a form of protest that is hard to imagine anyone resorting to if there was any other way of making their voice heard. Since 2009 over 100 Tibetans have taken the drastic decision to self-immolate.

Instead of addressing the grievances that have driven Tibetans to take such actions, your government has chosen to implement even tighter security across the Tibetan plateau, to increase surveillance, monitor communications and restrict movement. Such measures simply exacerbate an already tense situation and run counter to the claims of a harmonious society.
Today we urge you to recommend to your government that it takes a meaningful step forward and initiates an open and transparent dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan people, both inside Tibet and in exile, to address the underlying grievances of the Tibetan people and seek a just solution for Tibet that recognises their rights and freedoms.

We further urge the Chinese government to lift any restrictions on travel to Tibet and allow full access including for journalists, diplomats and NGOs to any area within the Tibet Autonomous Region and all other Tibetan areas. This would go a long way to engender trust and enable a fuller understanding of the situation inside Tibet. If your governments public statements are to be believed, there is no crisis in Tibet. Given this, why not allow free access and let there be independent comment?

We all can see the astounding growth over the last 30 years in China and the progress this has brought for many of its people. But economic growth also brings a responsibility to build a society where basic freedoms, human rights and civil liberties are respected and developed, where there is a fair judicial system, where people feel free to live life without fear of arbitrary arrest or torture.

In Tibet, your much vaunted economic progress has not brought greater freedoms, improved civil and human rights or benefited the Tibetan people. In reality your economic investment has been self-serving and has primarily profited the state and ethnic Chinese immigrants. Increasingly Tibetan people are being marginalised in their own country.

For China to be respected as a leading player within the global community, your government needs to work towards achieving openness and transparency; it must not only respect and adhere to principles established in international conventions such as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but also to principles regarding the same areas within your own constitution.

The Tibet issue will not go away; through grass roots actions that promote language and culture, public expressions of national identity and peaceful street protests, Tibetan resistance to Chinas rule will continue to grow. Nor will international calls for China to address its policies on human rights and civil liberties, both inside Tibet and in China, go away.

We therefore urge the Chinese government to review its existing policies in Tibet and take measures that give the Tibetan people the rights they are entitled to.

We hope you will let your government know of our concerns and we look forward to your response. We would, of course, welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss the current situation in Tibet.

Yours sincerely

Tenzin Samphel, Tibetan Community in Britain
Karma Chura-Tsang, Tibetan Youth UK
Jamphel Lhamo, Students for a Free Tibet UK                          
Stephanie Brigden, Free Tibet                     
Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society

Read Tibet Uprising Anniversary 2013: UK Report

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