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Corby Council agrees to 'adopt' Tibetan village PDF Print E-mail
[20 September 2013] Corby in Northamptonshire has become the first council in the UK to 'adopt' a Tibetan village. On 19 September, Corby Council voted to 'adopt' Rigul village in eastern Tibet. Council members now plan to raise funds for health and education projects in Rigul, as well as highlighting the human and civil rights issues affecting the people of Tibet.

The adoption of Rigul, a remote village high in the mountains of Kham (and now part part of China's Sichuan province) was the idea of Councillor Bob Riley. Councillor  Riley came across the idea in France having already been aware of the issue through the annual raising of the Tibetan flag on 10 March in nearby Northampton. The motion was proposed by the Jean Addison, Deputy Leader of Corby Council, and passed at a full council meeting on 19 September.

The adoption process is similar to twinning but requires no funding nor formal approval from the Chinese authorities. As such the council can choose to do what it wishes in terms of promoting the adoption. Members of Corby Council hope to put on cultural and fundarising events in the future, to raise funds for projects which will benefit the people of Rigul as well as promoting the issue of Tibet in general.

Councillor Chris Stanbra was quoted in the Northamptonshire Telegraph as saying, This is about this council leading the way and making a stand. We should extend the hand of friendship and wouldnt it be great if other places did the same.

Councillor Mary Butcher added, These are a peaceful people who are losing their way of life. This is a way of showing that we care.

Tibet Society supports the adoption process and congratulates Corby Council on taking this positive step to helping the people of Tibet.

A week before the vote Tibet Society was invited to talk to the council. Paul Golding, Tibet Society's Campaigns Coordinator, addressed council members and explained the harsh realities for Tibetans living under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. The presentation included France24's undercover video report from inside Tibet earlier this year and highlighted recent prisoner cases, including Dolma Gyab (sentenced to death for the alleged murder of his wife) and Ngawang Tobden (student imprisoned for two years for having 'subversive' images on his mobile phone).

The UK-based Rigul Trust also gave a presentation to the Council, about  Rigul and the projects it funds. According to Rigul Trust, "The people of Rigyul have been gradually rebuilding their lives after years of destruction following the Chinese invasion. Through many bleak years they experienced extreme poverty and hard labour". The projects include sanitation improvements and the building of education facilities and a health clinic.

Tibet Society will be developing plans to encourage other councils across the UK to adopt Tibetan towns and villages. Details will be announced soon.

Further reading: Northamptonshire Telegraph 20 Sept 201313 Sept 2013

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