Petition submitted on eve of London visit
Free Tibet has today sent a 4,300-signature petition to 10 Downing St, asking UK Prime Minister David Cameron to meet the Dalai Lama during his current visit to the UK. Mr Cameron was widely thought to have bowed to pressure from Beijing when he announced in 2013 that he had “no plans” to meet the Dalai Lama again.
Bullied by Beijing
Mr Cameron’s comments followed a furious response from the Chinese government after he and his then-deputy, Nick Clegg, held a private meeting with the spiritual leader in 2012. Diplomatic relations between the UK and China were reported to be “in the deep freeze” after the event, although trade between the countries actually increased.
Following the Prime Minister’s carefully worded statement, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang undertook a high-profile visit to the UK last year. China has also objected vociferously to meetings between other governments and the Dalai Lama. The South African and Norwegian governments are among those to bow to its wishes although President Obama has faced down Beijing’s anger by continuing the tradition of US presidents meeting him.
Thousands demand Cameron supports Tibet
The petition submitted today calls on Mr Cameron to” show the British public and the world community that London, not Beijing, determines the UK's policy and the meeting schedule of the UK's prime minister.”
UK supporters have also been contacting London Mayor Boris Johnson to ask him to extend a welcome to the Dalai Lama. The call has been endorsed by Green Party members of the London Assembly, the elected body that scrutinises the work of the Mayor.
If you live in London, please contact Boris Johnson to urge him to meet the Dalai Lama. If you live in the US, find out whether the Dalai Lama will be visiting your state on his next visit in October and press your local politicians to welcome him.
If the Dalai Lama isn’t visiting your area, contact your foreign minister to demand greater international support for Tibet.