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Letter to G8 Foreign Ministers PDF Print E-mail
[10 April 2013] Text of the letter sent to G8 Foreign Ministers from member groups (including Tibet Society) of International Tibet Network. The Ministers are attending a preparatory meeting in London on 10 & 11 April prior to the G8 summit to be held in June in Northern Ireland.

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Joint Letter to G8 Foreign Ministers
from member groups of International Tibet Network, a coalition of global Tibet organisations.

10 April 2013

Dear Ministers,

Rt Hon William Hague
, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK;
Mr John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America;
Hon. Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany;
Hon. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, France;
Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada;
Rt Hon. Mario Monti, President of the Council of Ministers;
His Excellency Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan;
Mr Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia.
cc: Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

We are writing to express our profound concerns about the situation in Tibet, and to appeal to you to discuss Tibet with your fellow G8 Ministers in the course of your two-day meeting, given the escalating wave of self-immolations over the past year.

As you will be aware, there is currently a crisis in Chinese-occupied Tibet. In the last five years there has been a surge in non-violent protests by Tibetans in Tibet, notably in 2008 but increasing again since early 2012, with demonstrators calling for freedom in Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama. Chinas severe and worsening security crackdown has provoked an unprecedented wave of self-immolations by Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople, with at least 114 confirmed self-immolation protests since 2009. No fewer than 93 of these protesters have died.

In the months since Xi Jinping was elevated to the top of the Chinese Communist Party, China has stepped up its response to these calls for freedom, heightening its already strong military presence and introducing further pervasive security systems. New legal measures to criminalize the friends and relatives of those self-immolating were introduced in 2012. Dozens of Tibetans across eastern Tibet have been detained and long sentences passed, including a suspended death sentence issued in January 2013 for monk Lobsang Kunchok in Ngaba, Amdo (Ch: Lorang Konchok, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan). These actions are exacerbating tensions in Tibet.

We urge you to use this opportunity to agree to a joint dmarche that will impress upon China the importance of urgently lifting recently implemented measures, to enable a de-escalation of the tensions brought about by Chinas hard-line and destructive policies and crackdown.

These include:
Withdrawing troops from monasteries and towns in affected areas, and a reduction in the all-pervasive high-security apparatus in Tibet; factors that have intensified tensions.
Implementing an immediate review of policies on ethnic minorities with specific reference to addressing restrictions on the rights to freedom of thought, religion, assembly and expression. Specifically, China must end its use of political or patriotic re-education.
Ending the non-voluntary resettlement of nomadic herders and other rural residents in Tibet, and allowing Tibetan nomads already resettled to return to their land if they wish.
Granting diplomats, journalists and other international observers urgent access to the Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan Provinces.

We appeal to you not to hide from the truth about China's brutal repression of the Tibetan people. We urge you to use your collective influence to press Chinas leadership to alleviate the situation by lifting the crackdown in Tibet, and urgently review official policies in Tibet.

Yours sincerely,
Alison Reynolds
Executive Director, International Tibet Network

On behalf of:
Associazione Italia Tibet
Association Drme Ardche Tibet - France
Canada Tibet Committee
Free Tibet
International Campaign for Tibet
Objectif-Tibet - France
Students for a Free Tibet
Tibetan Community in Britain
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibet Justice Centre (US)
Tibet Society (UK)

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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