Uprising 2012: Letter to Chinese Ambassador
Text of the letter from coalition of Tibet groups delivered to the Chinese Ambassador on 10 March 2012

His Excellency Liu Xiaoming
Ambassador, People’s Republic of China
Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 1JL

10 March 2012

Your Excellency,

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

In London today Tibetans and Tibet supporters were able to march from the British Prime Minister’s office through the city’s main shopping precincts to your embassy in protest to your government’s unyielding and imperialist policies in Tibet that sees Tibetans treated like second-class citizens with no basic human rights.
If this protest were taking place in Tibet we would have been stopped by Chinese security forces and risked being shot despite being unarmed. We would be facing detention, torture and imprisonment. London would be under military lockdown and our families and colleagues would be under strict surveillance. The media would be banned from entering the city and there would be a communications blackout.

Such actions are not that of a government attempting to ‘build harmonious relations with the Tibetan people’, rather it is one that is fearful of criticism and of the truth about the situation being revealed to the rest of its citizens and to the outside world.

Today we are calling on China’s government to stop the current crackdown in Tibet and to respect the rights and freedoms of Tibetans living in Tibet. It is time that China stops imposing its own policies and beliefs on a nation without any regard for the wishes of its people.

In order to find a peaceful solution to the long-term issue of Tibet, China must show openness and willingness to properly address the underlying grievances of the Tibetan people. A positive first step to build trust and ease current tensions would be to show restraint when confronting protests and withdrawing the military and security personnel from Tibetan regions.

China must also allow world media, international observers and humanitarian agencies unfettered access to all Tibetan regions.

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. However, at the same time, your government has imposed a communications blackout in Tibet and the world’s media, or any other independent observers, have been banned. Journalists and observers must be allowed to freely report from Tibet. What have you got to hide? Does your government fear scrutiny and accountability?

We further urge the Chinese government to respect the fundamental rights of the Tibetans, in particular the freedom of expression and to freedom to practice their religion and beliefs.

Specifically we demand the release all Tibetan political prisoners, including the monks and lay-people who have been detained and imprisoned since March 2011. Also, we call for China to respect international rule of law and provide independent legal counsel for all those facing charges and trials be conducted openly.

In particular we ask for confirmation of the condition and location of Tabe, Lobsang Gyatso, Sonam Rabyang, Kelsang Wangchuk, Lobsang Kelsang, Lobsang Konchok and Dawa Tsering, all of whom have self-immolated in the past months and were taken away by security forces.

Overall, we call on the Chinese government to review its existing policies in Tibet in order to fulfil the aspirations of the Tibetan people. 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.

Your government says it is keen to promote stability in Tibet, but in reality your policies and use of excessive force has achieved the opposite; self-immolations are continuing with greater frequency and Tibetans are unifying in their resistance to China’s rule. If you truly wish to achieve stability in Tibet, it is time to change your failed tactics and instead properly address Tibetans' grievances through dialogue.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss the current situation in Tibet with Your Excellency. In the meanwhile we hope you will let your government know of our concerns and we 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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