Blair must promote peaceful resolution

Monday, 29 October 2001

Blair must promote peaceful solution to Tibet's occupation in his meeting with Chinese Vice-President Hu Jintao
Demonstration by Free Tibet Campaign protestors at Downing Street from noon today and this evening in Whitehall

Hu Jintao, the next President of China, will meet Tony Blair at lunchtime today, following his reception last night by Free Tibet Campaign demonstrators. Hu, the man who oversaw the imposition of martial law in Tibet, slipped out of the Chinese Embassy last night by a side door, preferring not to confront demonstrators. This morning, as his boat arrived at Greenwich pier, he was greeted by further protestors, displaying a huge 5 metre by 8 metre Tibetan flag. (Note: Associated Press Television News have pictures and comment).

Free Tibet Campaign has written to Tony Blair, calling on him to press Hu for a commitment to enter into unconditional negotiations with the Tibetan Government in exile on the future status of Tibet. The organisation told the Prime Minister that it would be highly inappropriate if the issues of the future of Tibet and human rights were in any way sidelined during the meeting.

"If the British Government does not now actively support a non-violent struggle for freedom like that of the Tibetans - a cause acknowledged by the United Nations to be a just one - what sort of message does that send to terrorists?" asked Alison Reynolds of Free Tibet Campaign. "Tibetans must not be the political casualties of Chinese support for the coalition against terrorism."

Extracts from Free Tibet Campaign's letter to the Prime Minister:

"Given that the UK is assisting the United States in the war in Afghanistan, we believe that this is an important time to be seen to give support to just, non-violent freedom struggles, such as that of the Tibetan people against the occupation of their country by China.

"It is worth reminding the Vice President that it would reflect well on the Chinese Government to address some of its problems before the 2008 Olympic Games, when the eyes of the world will be upon them.

"We sincerely hope that you will be able to persuade Hu Jintao that he should take steps to ensure his place in history - for the right reasons."

Free Tibet Campaign will be holding a further peaceful protest this evening, Monday 29 October at 6.30pm, Banqueting House, Whitehall

For more information contact: Alison Reynolds, 020 7833 9958, Mobile 07711 843 884.

Background Briefing

Press Release - 26 October - Hu Jintao to meet Blair in first UK visit

Press Advisory - 23 October - China's future President, Hu Jintao, to visit UK