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What does it take for the G8 to support a political solution for Tibet? PDF Print E-mail
[18 June 2013] Press Release from International Tibet Network, Tibet Society, Students for a Free Tibet UK and Tibet Action Institute

Tibet campaigners deplore exclusion of Tibet situation in G8 Summit Communique


Chinas bullying tactics over Tibet is undermining G8s commitment to human rights

[LONDON, 18 June 2013] Tibet campaigners today expressed their deep disappointment that the G8 communique [1] makes no mention of the situation in Tibet, nor features any commitment to working multilaterally to tackle Chinas failed policies in the troubled region. Nor does it address Chinas bullying of individual nations that show support for the Dalai Lama or concern about the situation in Tibet.

For many years we have been urging Governments to unite for Tibet, and stand together against Chinas bullying, said Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute. With the crackdown in Tibet intensifying still further, the Tibetan people urgently needed a show of diplomatic strength from G8, in the form of a multilateral initiative that will impress upon China the legitimate international concerns about Tibet. But our leaders have failed Tibet once again.

Tibet Society logoPhilippa Carrick of Tibet Society said: Given David Cameron was recently on the receiving end of Chinas intense and public bullying, he should know more than anyone the importance of defending core values and democratic principles. He continues to speak out over the rights of the Syrian people; the G8 has come out in strong support for the Geneva conference to reach a political solution to the conflict in Syria; but what about the rights of the Tibetan people and the subjugation of Tibet?

Tenzin Jigme of the International Tibet Network added: A number of G8 countries say they are committed to seeking a political solution for Tibet. But when? If a conference for Syria can be "strongly" supported, surely the G8 can also give support to the Tibetan people who have suffered occupation for over 60 years, increasing economic marginalisation and brutal repression, and yet continue to steadfastly conduct a non-violent campaign for justice. What message does this convey to peoples with grievances? That you get noticed only if you embark on armed conflict?

On Monday, Tibet campaigners delivered a short report A New Global Approach: Unite for Tibet [2] to 10 Downing Street, along with a 10,000 strong petition asking G8 leaders to lead the way on a new diplomatic initiative on Tibet. With Tibetans increasingly demonstrating their resistance to Chinas rule through protests, cultural resistance and the drastic act of self-immolation, the need for Governments to stand together in addressing the crisis in Tibet is ever more urgent. To date 120 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet [3]; the latest, a Tibetan Buddhist nun named Wangchen Dolma in eastern Tibet, occurred on 11 June 2013.

The new report, by International Tibet Network and its member organisations [4], clearly illustrates the abject failure of the current policy to address Chinas occupation of Tibet through bilateral approaches. It questions why Governments bow to Chinas blatant bullying tactics whenever Governments and leaders decide to meet Tibets spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and challenges the widely held view that angering China over Tibet will lead to heavy economic and diplomatic penalties, contending that most of Chinas punitive reactions are more hot air than genuinely damaging in the long-term.

The report demonstrates that Governments that have angered China over Tibet have, nonetheless, seen their exports to China at the very least hold up if not increase in the aftermath [5]. Tibet campaigners argue that high level bilateral visits ultimately deliver only a small proportion of the trade deals trumpeted in the press, and express the view that proactive concessions to China rarely buy much in the way of long-term goodwill.

Earlier this year there was a much publicised diplomatic spat that had China demanding an apology from David Cameron nearly a year after he displeased Beijing by meeting the Dalai Lama in London. To Chinas annoyance and Tibet campaigners delight, Cameron held firm and the publicity prompted a spate of articles by journalists and academics that came out in support of a unified common position on issues such as Tibet [6].

Contacts:
Tenzin Jigme, International Tibet Network [English, Tibetan] +1 703 424 0015
Philippa Carrick, Tibet Society [English] + 44 7941 105485
Lhadon Tethong, Tibet Action Institute [English] +91 9882770392
Kate Woznow, Students for a Free Tibet [English] + 1 917 601 0069

Notes:
1. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/207583/Lough_Erne_2013_G8_Leaders_Communique__2_.pdf

2. Read A New Global Approach: Unite for Tibet - G8 Lead the Way online at Issuu.com: bit.ly/UniteForTibet or download from a PDF version via www.dropbox.com/s/88el3phdak50f4u/New_Global_Approach_Unite_%20for_Tibet.pdf. Images of the delivery to Downing Street are available via www.dropbox.com/sh/qs9v6zqpwcpu800/2eL6GV0mtN

3. For details of all self-immolation cases in Tibet see standupfortibet.org/learn-more

4. The International Tibet Network is a global coalition of more than 180 Tibet Groups, www.tibetnetwork.org. The report was co-authored by the Australia Tibet Council atc.org.au, US Tibet Committee, www.ustibetcommittee.org, Students for a Free Tibet, www.studentsforafreetibet.org and Tibetan Womens Association, tibetanwomen.org

5. For example, in 2012, UK exports to China rose 7.5% according to China Daily, despite the fact that David Cameron met the Dalai Lama in May of that year. Even Norway, not a G8 nation but incurring Chinas wrath through its Nobel Peace prize award in 2010 to Chinese dissident and Tibet supporter Liu Xiaobo, saw a 14% rise in exports to China during 2011.

6. See for example Does upsetting China matter?, Kerry Brown, CNN, 14 May 2013 globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/14/does-upsetting-china-matter and The Tibetan Test, Edward Lucas, European Voice, 16 May 2013 (subscription requierd) www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/the-tibetan-test/77253.aspx


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