Gordon Brown urged to stand up for Tibet after he sits down with the Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Free Tibet Campaign is today calling on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to show true leadership on the issue of Tibet.

Despite the Prime Minister’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama this week at Lambeth Palace (rather than Downing Street where his predecessors met Tibet’s spiritual leader), Free Tibet believes Gordon Brown could still play a pivotal role. The Prime Minister is urged to utilise his friendship with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to persuade the Chinese leadership to stop vilifying and start negotiating in good faith directly with the Dalai Lama.

Fifty years after the Dalai Lama was driven into exile by the failed 1959 Tibetan Uprising, his return to Tibet remains the most cherished dream of Tibetans. Central to all the recent protests throughout Tibet has been a call for the long life and safe return of the Dalai Lama.

'Revealing the truth: why China’s anti-Dalai Lama campaign must end '(1), a Free Tibet Campaign briefing released today, details the spectacular failure of the Chinese government’s attempts to turn Tibetans against their spiritual leader. The briefing also makes the case that there can be no peaceful, negotiated settlement in Tibet without the Dalai Lama.

This point is reiterated in a letter (2) from Free Tibet Campaign acting director Anne Holmes to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The letter calls on the Prime Minister, during the Dalai Lama’s visit, to send a clear message to the British people and to the Chinese government that the UK wants to play an active role in resolving this long-running tragedy.

Anne Holmes said: “Since 2002, the Chinese government has been hiding behind bad faith negotiations with representatives of the Tibetan government-in-exile. At the same time, Chinese authorities have run a relentless campaign of vilification against the Dalai Lama in Tibet and in China. For too long the British and other world governments have played along with this charade. Enough is enough.

“As the first world leader to meet the Dalai Lama since the unrest began in Tibet in March, Gordon Brown must use his meeting to cement UK support for a peaceful, negotiated settlement in Tibet. He must use his influence with the Chinese government to make it understood: There can be no peace in Tibet without the Dalai Lama.”

Matt Whitticase
Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

Notes:

(1) Free Tibet Campaign’s report 'Revealing the truth: why China’s anti-Dalai Lama campaign must end' can be downloaded from here

(2) For a copy of the letter sent by Free Tibet Campaign to Prime Minister Gordon Brown (and members of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee who will hear the testimony of the Dalai Lama on Thursday morning), e-mail matt@freetibet.org

For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org
Or call on +44 (0) 207 324 4605/+44 (0)7515 788456