Free Tibet protests to mark arrival of Chinese Premier in Cambridge

Friday, 30 January 2009

Tibetans and Free Tibet supporters will protest vociferously against the Chinese government’s ongoing and worsening crackdown in Tibet during a visit by Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, to Cambridge on Monday (1).

Since last year, when more than 200 Tibetans protesters were killed in a violent Chinese crackdown and a further 6000 detained, the situation in Tibet has deteriorated drastically. The whereabouts of 1,000 Tibetans still remain unaccounted for and many areas are under de facto martial law. Journalists that have travelled recently to Lhasa have reported a large military presence on the streets and snipers positioned on rooftops. The Tibetan Government in Exile issued a statement yesterday (2) raising its concern that continued repressive policies adopted by the Chinese Government in Tibet may lead to a repeat of last year’s political unrest and appealed for the international community to intervene against the Chinese security crackdown.

Director of Free Tibet, Stephanie Brigden, said:

“No one attending Monday’s Rede Lecture in Cambridge should be under any illusions about Premier Wen.. He is the public face of China’s violent crackdown inside Tibet. As China’s second most powerful leader it is inconceivable that the orders for Chinese troops to fire on unarmed Tibetan protesters last year could have come without his knowledge and consent. At the time that he delivers his lecture on Monday, Tibetans in Lhasa will be living under the very real fear of a knock at the door and being dragged from their beds in the night.”

Premier Wen will meet Gordon Brown at Downing St on Monday morning before travelling to Cambridge. Free Tibet has written to the Prime Minister asking that, during his meeting with Premier Wen, he:

· Raises his concern regarding the overt and increased military presence in Tibetan towns and areas such as Lhasa, Nagaba county and Kandze; and secures a guarantee from the Chinese Premier that the presence of such forces is not an indication of an agreed policy to use force against any potential unrest

Mirrors the UN’s recent request for a “thorough and independent inquiry into the reported excessive use of force, including against peaceful demonstrators”

Requests the publication of a full list of the names and locations of all Tibetans still in detention after last year’s protests

Secures a guarantee from the Chinese Premier that all trials of Tibetans are held in open court, with legal safeguards met, and that consular staff and journalists be allowed to attend such court proceedings, where requested.

Ends

For further information:

Matt Whitticase, External Communications: t: +44 (0)20 7324 4605 (o) / +44 (0)7515 788456 (m)

Stephanie Brigden, Director: : t: +44 (0)20 7324 4605 (o) / +44 (0)7530 528264 (m)

Notes to Editor:

(1) Premier Wen will deliver the Rede Lecture at the West Road Concert Hall, 11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP on Monday 2 February. The Lecture will start at 3pm. Free Tibet’s protest will start at 2.30pm outside West Road Concert Hall. Further information about the venue is available at: http://www.westroad.org/contact/find_us.html

(2) The BBC reported the Tibetan Government in Exile’s appeal: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7857896.stm

For further information: Matt Whitticase: +44 (0)20 7324 4605 / +44 (0)7515 788456
Or e-mail matt@freetibet.org