China panders to British public to distract from human rights record

Friday, 2 December 2011

The two giant pandas arriving at Edinburgh zoo this weekend are part of China’s charm offensive on the West. They are here to divert attention from China’s diabolical human rights record in Tibet and China.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“Such efforts at ‘soft power’ aim to promote a very different image of China from the real one – which is of an unelected regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world, a regime which has been occupying Tibet for decades, maintaining its rule with an iron fist.

The British public loves animals, but these pandas, gorgeous as they are, must not distract us from taking the strongest possible line with China over human rights and speaking up for Tibet. “

There is nothing cuddly or cute about the unelected ruling Chinese Communist Party. China is effectively a police state which is illegally occupying Tibet. China executes more people every year than the rest of the world put together; disappearances and black jails are tools of the Chinese state; signs of dissent are met with a disproportionate response including lengthy detention without trial, torture, house arrest. Freedom of information and expression are heavily curtailed in China and Tibet, and manipulation of the media is one of the Chinese state’s most effective tools in controlling its people. Initiatives like the loan of these two pandas represent Chinese state efforts to extend its reach and influence the British media and public.

Ends

Notes to Editor

Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

For further information and interviews please contact Free Tibet’s Director <a href="http://www.freetibet.org/contact-us">Stephanie Brigden</a>
E: stephanie@freetibet.org
T: +44 (0)20 7324 4605
M: +44 (0)7971 479515