Uprising 2012: Letter to David Cameron
Text of letter delivered to Prime Minister David Cameron on 10 March 2012, marking the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising and calling for action from the British government on Tibet. The letter was signed by a coalition of UK-based Tibet groups including Tibet Society. Click here to see the response from the Foreign Office.



Rt. Hon David Cameron
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1 2AA

10 March 2012

Dear Prime Minister,

Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against China’s rule. Reports of continued Tibetan resistance through protests, demonstrations and increasing instances of self-immolation make it clear the Tibetan people will not accept China’s rule or its repressive policies which flagrantly violate international human rights.

It is time for the world to stand up to China and demand an end not only to the current crackdown in Tibet, but to China’s occupation. Since 1950 China has subjugated the Tibetan people and taken away their basic human rights; in Tibet today Tibetans have no freedom of expression, they cannot freely follow their religious beliefs and customs without interference, they are subject to arbitrary arrests, there is little or no adherence to rule of law, trials are conducted behind closed doors, draconian prison sentences meted out, the use of torture is endemic, and freedom of movement is curtailed.

Added to these appalling everyday hardships, Tibet is currently under de facto martial law and closed to the outside world with international media banned. China continues to write its own version of events with absolutely no independent verification, no transparency and no accountability. With such restrictions, it is all the more vital that we in the free world speak up for Tibetans’ rights.

Today, on behalf of thousands of Tibetans and Tibet supporters in the UK, we call on you to support Tibetans’ rights and make a public statement of concern on the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet, and to urge China to ease tensions in Tibet by immediately withdrawing its armed forces from Tibetan regions.

We welcomed the UK government’s recent statements on the self-immolations in Tibet. However, since those statements were made the frequency of self-immolations has increased and China’s implacable and brutal response has intensified.

The decision to set fire to yourself in order to have your voice heard is almost inconceivable to anyone living in an open society. But over the last year this decision has been taken by at least 25 Tibetans, many under the age of 20. On 3 March, Tsering Kyi, a 20-year-old student, self-immolated. A few days earlier, whilst in her hometown, she had said, “We should do something for Tibet – life is meaningless if we don’t do something for Tibet.” Prior to his death on 8 January, Sopa Rinpoche, the highest ranked religious figure to have self-immolated to date, distributed leaflets calling for Tibetans to “unite and work together to build a strong and prosperous Tibetan nation.”

These strong and moving final messages that so emotively emphasise Tibetans’ deep held frustration and resistance must be publicly acknowledged.

A strong statement from yourself would not only send a message to the Chinese government that their actions in Tibet are unacceptable, but also would send a message of hope to the Tibetan people and to those who may self-immolate that their long-standing non-violent peaceful struggle for their basic rights to be respected is being heard by the international community.

However, we recognise words by themselves are not enough. A statement must be backed up with action.

We urge you to engage with other governments to work multi-laterally in encouraging the Chinese government to enter into negotiations with representatives of the Tibetan people in order to resolve the Tibetans’ underlying grievances.

The world can no longer stand by and watch China treat the Tibetan people like second-class citizens with no basic human rights and impose its own policies and beliefs on a nation without any regard for the wishes of its people.

Over the past year world governments have lined up to criticise regimes and dictators who have abused their own people and attempted to silence opposition to their undemocratic policies. Why should China be treated any differently?

Tibetans must be afforded the rights and freedoms guaranteed not only in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but also in the Chinese Constitution itself.

We also call on you to personally ask Chinese President Hu Jintao to allow world media, international observers and humanitarian agencies into Tibet.

Chinese government officials say that NGOs and journalists are giving a “groundless and distorted account of the recent incidents in Tibetan areas” and that local Tibetans “support” the presence of the Chinese security forces. A communications blackout has been imposed in Tibet. Such behaviour by other countries draws valid criticism from international governments and strong demands for independent verification of ‘disputed’ facts. China should be treated no differently.

We would welcome the opportunity of briefing your office further about the current situation in Tibet. In the meanwhile we hope you will be able to address the issues raised as a matter of urgency and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Pempa Lobsang,
Tibetan Community in Britain
Karma Chura-Tsang, Tibetan Youth UK
Philippa Carrick,
Tibet Society
Stephanie Brigden,
Free Tibet
Pema Yoko,
Students for a Free Tibet UK


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 £24; Overseas £36; Life £500).

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