Free Tibet films outburst from China's UK ambassador at public meeting
In a rare direct exchange between foreign representatives of the Chinese government and exiled Tibetans, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, told Tibetan activists at a public talk last night that “your cause is doomed to failure… you will never succeed. Period.” The ambassador’s exchanges with activists were caught on camera and can be seen on the video below. Before the talk, at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, organisers requested members of the audience to remove or hide Tibetan symbols such as scarves, t-shirts and other clothing, apparently at the ambassador’s request.
Following a peaceful demonstration outside the venue by Bath Tibet Support UK, a number of Tibetans and Tibet campaigners were among the audience for the talk. The ambassador spoke at length about the happiness of people in Tibet and was challenged over his comments by campaigners, including Free Tibet campaign manager Alistair Currie. In the video, the ambassador makes a number of comments about Tibet:
- Responding to a question from a Tibetan activist, Ambassador Liu says “There are 3 million Tibetans: everyone would agree they are much happier, live longer and are much freer”. The activist replies “not according to my family in Tibet”.
- In response to persistent questioning Mr Liu tells Tibet campaigners “you are violating [the] human rights of the majority audience in this meeting”. When an audience member responds “that’s nothing compared to torture”, he angrily replies “that’s absolute lies from you”.
- Audience members press the ambassador on the case of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the six-year old boy abducted by China in 1995, after being identified as the Panchen Lama, a high Tibetan Buddhist leader. Mr Liu replies “that has never been recognised, so-called – he is just [an] ordinary boy”.
Sherab Gyaltsen, who is seen addressing the ambassador in the video said:
“I’ve heard Chinese propaganda all my life but it is still shocking to hear someone telling lies in person about your country and the experiences of your own people. I know Tibetans in Tibet are not happy as the ambassador claimed, because Tibetans in Tibet tell us of the oppression they endure. Tibetans want freedom and no one has the right to tell them they cannot have it. Tibet will be free.”
Free Tibet campaigns manager Alistair said
“The ambassador let the mask slip after being rattled by activists challenging him. After lengthy propagandising he found himself dealing with persistent and unapologetic campaigners holding him accountable for his government’s actions. He’d already shown the limits of China’s current charm offensive by trying to purge the room of any sign of Tibetan identity or support for Tibet. Tibetans inside Tibet are denied the right to show their flag on pain of imprisonment. As we saw during the State Visit of Xi Jinping, the Chinese government wants to do the same in our free and democratic country.
“The Chinese ambassador is a representative of a human rights-abusing regime, responsible for the occupation of Tibet and the brutal repression of the Tibetan people. While he tours the country spreading China’s lies and showing a friendly face, no one must forget that.”
China's ambassador described accusations of torture as "absolute lies". The reality is that the United Nations has recently called torture "endemic" in China. Stand up for Tibetans tortured in Tibet by signing the petition to the Chinese government calling for an immediate end to torture in Tibet.