Hague speaks up for Tibet during China trip
[14 July 2010] Tibet Society welcomes William Hague's comments on Tibet during his first visit to China since becoming Foreign Secretary. During a news conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr Hague said that the British government has "long-standing human rights concerns" about Tibet. He expanded on this by adding, "We want to see long-term stability for Tibet, which in our view implies work on human rights and greater autonomy."

Tibet Society is asking members and supporters to build on this success by writing to thank Mr Hague for speaking out about the concerns held about Tibet and ask that the coalition government now actively takes measures that will lead to genuine progress in the Sino-Tibetan dialogue.

For too long the Chinese government has been allowed to pay lip service to furthering the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. As an affirmation of its position that "the only way to resolve the underlying issues is through meaningful dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese authorities" (quote from William Hague's letter to Tibet Society, 14 June), the British government can take the lead by no longer accepting that intermittent meetings is a tangible outcome in itself and should suggest that practical measures and benchmarks be put in place to ensure meaningful progress of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue.

Is China rattled by William Hague openly expressing concern about Tibet whilst in Beijing?
According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, in a press briefing following his talks with the British Foreign Secretary, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, "called on all countries not to provide stage for Tibetan separatists, saying Tibet-related issues are purely China's internal affairs". Following Hague's visit, the Chinese state newspaper China Daily went as far as to rebuke the Foreign Secretary, saying his meetings with Chinese officials included an "unpleasant exchange of remarks on the issue of Tibet". The paper concluded that Britain, "needs to do a lot of homework on the history [of Tibet]... as well as on its implications on Britain's bilateral ties with China".

See links below for media reports on Hague's visit to China, including how Chinese state media have reported the visit.

Video report fron Lhasa: The BBC have produced a video report from Lhasa, which shows how Tibet remains under lockdown.

Take action:
Please write to Foreign Secretary William Hague making the following points:
  • Thank him for raising the Tibet issue during his trip to China and calling for human rights to be respected and for greater autonomy for Tibet.
  • Ask that the British government now takes a leading role in pressing the Chinese leadership to urgently seek a peaceful and lasting solution with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.
  • Ask that the British government suggests that practical measures and benchmarks are put in place to ensure meaningful progress in the dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama's representatives.
Write to:
Rt. Hon. William Hague
Foreign Secretary
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Salutation: Dear Mr Hague

Further reports
Read more about Hague's visit to China:
BBC: Hague calls for closer ties between the UK and China (14 July)

How Hague's visit was reported in China:
Xinhua: New British government seeks stronger relations as FM visits China (14 July)
China's official state news agency, Xinhua, unsurprisingly did not cover Hague's comments on Tibet, but instead reported that "Hague ... said Britain recognized that Tibet and Taiwan were inalienable parts of the Chinese territory."
Xinhua: China calls on world not to provide stage for Tibetan separatists (14 July)
China Daily: Britain will lose by criticizing China on Tibet issue (16 July)

BBC reports from Tibet:
Video report: BBC taken on rare escorted visit of Tibet (14 July)
A small group of reporters, including the BBC's China Correspondent, Damian Grammaticas, were taken on a rare escorted visit to Tibet. This report shows how Lhasa is still under lockdown, that Tibetans are not able to speak openly, and how China continues to try and manipulate the world's view of Tibet.
Is development killing Tibet's way of life? (15 July)
A written report, filed by Damian Grammaticus during his Lhasa trip, looking at how Tibetan culture is under threat due to China's aggressive economic policies.

Tibet Society, the world’s 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 £20; Overseas £32; Life £400).

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