ACTION: Follow-up to Tibet Mass Lobby 2011
As the Foreign Office fails to address concerns, Tibet Society calls on members and supporters to write to their MPs as a follow-up action to the Tibet Mass Lobby 2011.
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In response to the Tibet Mass Lobby on 10 March2011, the Foreign Office have issued a pro-forma letter (copied in full below). Though the letter states the government's commitment to autonomy for Tibet and the dialogue process, it fails to address the specific concerns raised during the Mass Lobby, i.e. the trend of arbitrary arrests in Tibet as noted in EDM 1434 "Arrests in Tibet" and the request for the Foreign Secretary to support the election of the new Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile).

Given the failure of the Foreign Office to address the points raised at the Mass Lobby and with further worrying developments occurring in Tibet, Tibet Society urges members and supporters to write to their MPs requesting a response from the Foreign Office which addresses our concerns.

TAKE ACTION

Please write or send an email to your MP making the following points:

1. Thank your MP if they responded to you following the Mass Lobby, particularly if they have shown support for the Tibet issue. (Note: if you have not heard back from your MP or if have yet to write to your MP you can still write making the requests below.)

2. Ask your MP to follow up the response from the Foreign Office, by writing to the Foreign Secretary noting the following:

a. Request a response from the Foreign Secretary regarding the call to publicly welcome the election of the Kalon Tripa, invite the Kalon Tripa to visit the UK and encourage the Chinese government to engage with the Kalon Tripa.
•  Though the Foreign Office statement of support for the dialogue process and genuine autonomy for Tibet is welcome, it did not refer to the Kalon Tripa, which was a key part of the original request to the Foreign Secretary.

•  Given the Dalai Lama has stated his intention to pass on his political duties to the Kalon Tripa (read statement on Dalailama.com), it is now even more crucial that the British government acknowledges the newly elected Kalon Tripa.

•  Note: Lobsang Sangay was confirmed as the new Kalon Tripa on 27 April (read more here).

b. Request the Foreign Secretary to publicly condemn the crackdown and worsening human rights situation in Tibet.
•  In particular, urge the Foreign Secretary to call on the Chinese government to end the lockdown on Kirti monastery, withdraw the security forces and to release all the monks and lay-people who have been detained since mid-March, and to urgently contact the British consulate in Chongqing (the nearest British consulate to Tibet) asking them to request permission to send an observer to the area. Also ask for the Foreign Secretary to make a public statement of concern. (Read latest reports and actions regarding Kirti monastery.)

•  Arbitrary arrests and disappearances continue both in China and Tibet. On 4 April, the Foreign Secretary called for the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, probably the highest profile case in a trend of disappearances and detentions in China in recent months. Likewise, Tibetan writers, intellectuals, singers, artists and civil society leaders are being systematically targeted, detained and prosecuted by the Chinese authorities. (Read background to arbitrary arrests - see Ask 2.)

•  If the government wishes to truly make human rights central to its foreign policy, as stated by William Hague in the FCO annual Human Rights Report it must call to rights those governments who are abusing the rights of their own citizens.
 
To find your MP
Go to findyourmp.parliament.uk and type in your postcode; or www.writetothem.com which can also be used to send a message to your MP. Alternatively call the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272.

If you receive a reply from your MP, please send us a copy. This enables us to monitor the support for Tibet in Parliament.


Letter from the Foreign Office
(Note: this letter was sent to MPs whose constituents had asked them to write to the Foreign Secretary as part of the Tibet Mass Lobby.)

Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A2AH

March 2011

Dear (MP)

Thank you for your letter of 23 February to the Foreign Secretary, on behalf of your constituent, about Tibet. I am replying as Minister responsible for our relations with China.

Our interest is in long term stability in Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution. This can only be achieved through respect for human rights and genuine autonomy for Tibetans. The best way to make this happen is meaningful dialogue with Dalai Lama’s representatives and the Chinese authorities.

The Deputy Prime Minister raised the issue of Tibet in his meeting with Chinese Vice-Premier, Li Keqiang, during his visit to the UK in January. The situation in Tibet was also raised during the last round of the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue held in the UK in January.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tibet, and raise it with the Chinese authorities at the appropriate opportunities.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Browne MP
Minister of State


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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