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ACTION: Urge the UK government not to bow to pressure from China PDF Print E-mail
[10 May 2013] Following the recent political storm between the UK and China, over David Camerons meeting with Dalai Lama in 2012, and the Foreign Offices response to Tibet Lobby 2013, Tibet Society is calling on the UK government to take positive action and stand up for the rights and freedoms of the Tibet people.

Tibet supporters are requested to contact the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and their MPs urging UK government not to bow to pressure from the Chinese government and to adhere to its stated policy of promoting human rights and political and economic freedom around the world.

Take Action  I  Background  I  UK policy on Tibet  I  UK foreign policy  I  Links

UPDATE (17 May 2013) : Read letter sent to Cameron by global Tibet coalition
(Note: Please continue to take the actions below. Your letters will add support to the recommendations made by the coalition.)


Take Action
Write to Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and your own MP with the following requests:

1. To ensure the UK government will continue to stand up for its right to meet the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan representatives as and when it chooses and not bow to pressure from the Chinese government to abandon such meetings. [Such decisions are internal matters and not for China to dictate.]

2. For the Prime Minister to make a public statement urging the Chinese government to end its oppressive policies in Tibet and respect the human rights and freedoms of the Tibetan people, as guaranteed under international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also under Chinas own constitution. [See note below on the UK governments stated policy on Tibet.]

3. For the British government to work with other governments on NEW strategies that encourage the Chinese government to work with representatives of the Tibetan people in order to resolve the issue of Tibet.

Addresses:
1. Prime Minister David Cameron

Address: 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA
Email: via website
email.number10.gov.uk

2. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

Address: 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS
Email: via website
www.dpm.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/contact

3. Your MP
To find your MP's contact details go to findyourmp.parliament.uk or use www.writetothem.com to send a message to your MP.

Please send copies of any replies you receive to Tibet Society - email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or post to Tibet Society, Unit 9, 139 Fonthill Road, London N4 3HF - as this helps us to monitor the government's actions as well as parliamentary support.

4. Foreign Office website
In addition you can leave comments under the China section of the Foreign Offices recently published Human Rights and Democracy Report 2012: www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk/human-rights-in-countries-of-concern/china/


Background and Additional Points
The following provides further background and additional points to raise, particularly for those who participated in Tibet Lobby 2013 and previously contacted their MPs.

In responding to MPs who were lobbied during Tibet Lobby 2013, the Foreign Office did not adequately address the two main asks, i.e. requesting a public statement of concern from the Prime Minister and for the UK to work multilaterally with other governments on the issue of Tibet.

a. Public statement from the Prime Minister
In relation to the ask for a public statement from the Prime Minister, the Foreign Office only referred to a statement expressing serious concern issued by Hugo Swire, Minister of State for the Foreign Office, on 17 December. Though welcome, a statement needs to be made by the Prime Minister in order for the Chinese government to take the UKs concerns seriously.

Additional Points to Raise: Point out that the situation has continued to deteriorate inside Tibet with China implementing new policies which further restrict the freedoms of the Tibetan people. There have been numerous arrests and heavy sentences for those who have peacefully protested or simply reported on demonstrations. Also, the Chinese authorities have introduced collective punishments. These measures mean that the families, villages and monasteries associated with those who protest by self-immolation are severely punished. The use of collective punishment is contrary to international human rights law.

b. Multi-lateral strategies
In response to the ask urging the UK government to work multilaterally with other governments, the Foreign Office noted that it works closely with [its] international partners and with multilateral organisations in the region to encourage the resumption of meaningful dialogue.

Additional Points to Raise: Point out that so far international efforts have seen no improvement for the Tibetan people. Indeed, over the past few years the situation has deteriorated. The US government recently issued reports noting that conditions for religious freedom in Tibet are worse now than at any time over the past decade and that human rights in Tibet "deteriorated markedly" during 2012. Therefore the UK government should investigate new strategies of engagement with China. Such strategies could include issuing joint statements on Tibet (the UK frequently makes joint statements on foreign matters for example with the USA and France on Libya on 8 May) and liaising on development and civil projects in Tibet.


UK Governments Policy on Tibet
Commons logoOn 8 May, David Cameron told parliament that the UK government recognise[s] Tibet as part of China. We do not support Tibetan independence, and we respect Chinas sovereignty. This statement reiterates the governments current policy on Tibet. It is not a change of policy and is in line with most western governments. Indeed it reflects statements made by the Dalai Lama and the Sikyong (the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile) who are seeking genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the Peoples Republic of China.

Following Tibet Lobby 2013, Hugo Swire, Minister of State for the Foreign Office responded to letters from MPs by clarifying the UK governments position on Tibet:

Our position on Tibet is clear and unchanged: we regard Tibet as part of the Peoples Republic of China. This is the position of the current Government, as it was of the previous Government. We believe that a long-term solution to the issues in Tibet depends on respect for human rights and genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the framework of the Chinese constitution. We are committed to striking a balance between taking a clear position on Tibet, and sustaining broad-based engagement with the Chinese Government. It is only through engaging China that we can help bring about positive change to human rights in China, including for Tibetan communities.


Tibet Society believes the UK government must urgently work to back its words with actions. To date, the UKs bi-lateral engagement with China has produced no positive benefits for the Tibetan people, indeed the situation has only worsened in the past few years. Hence new strategies must be looked for. These will be more effective if developed and implemented in conjunction with other like-minded governments.


UK Governments Foreign Policy
In the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices Human Rights and Democracy Report 2012, published in April 2013, Foreign Secretary William Hague stated, The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of the UKs foreign policy objectives. He added, We will remain vigilant to emerging situations where human rights are at risk, and continue to build solutions to longer-term problems, in pursuit of our vision of a world where the human rights of all people are respected.

These principles are to be applauded - but only if the government genuinely acts upon them. You can add your comments on the Foreign Office website (see above).


Links

(9 May) Tibet Society: Cameron: UK gov't "does not support Tibetan independence"
(8 May) Tibet Society: China seeks apology; Clegg says UK must stand firm
(3 May) Tibet Society: US says China is engaged in "severe repression" of Tibet
(29 April) Tibet Society: Cameron snubbed by China for meeting Dalai Lama
(April)
Foreign Office: Human Rights and Democracy 2012 Report China section (Tibet on pages 7 & 8)
(March) Tibet Lobby 2013Report on Tibet Lobby 2013



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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