Letter urging Gordon Brown to meet the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Press Release - 19th March 2008

Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

Dear Prime Minister

I would like to be amongst the first to congratulate you for announcing in the House of Commons today that you will meet with the Dalai Lama when he visits London in May.

We eagerly await further details about this meeting which we can only assume, following recent events in Tibet, will be an official meeting at Downing Street. It is crucial at this time that the UK government plays a leading role in compelling the Chinese government to conduct good faith discussions with the Tibetan government-in-exile which will lead to full autonomy on domestic matters for the people of Tibet.

We are pleased to hear your comment that Chairman Wen Jiabao has informed you of his willingness to begin constructive negotiations with the Tibetan government-in-exile. However, given the failure of the Chinese government to offer any sort of substantive negotiations in the past and their use of lethal force in Tibet over the last weeks, we believe it is now essential that independent observers can vouch for the sincerity of the next round of negotiations. Ideally they should be held in a third country. (Oslo, as home to the Nobel Peace prize, seems an obvious location.)

I feel compelled to reiterate the concerns I expressed in my letter of 16 March that foreign journalists (including the BBC, ITV, The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian) are being intimidated and physically prevented from reaching the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) or other parts of historic Tibet absorbed into China after the 1950 invasion.

Yes, a negotiated settlement is needed, but in the short term, the world must know what is going on in the TAR and other Tibetan-populated regions today. We urge you or Culture, Media and Sports Minister Margaret Hodge to make a strong public statement denouncing this scandalous situation and demanding that journalists be allowed to return to all Tibetan areas immediately.

Again, please accept our heartfelt thanks for your decision to send a clear message to the Chinese government that human rights everywhere matter to the British public. Nothing can send that message more clearly than your meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Sincerely,

Anne Holmes

Acting Director

Free Tibet Campaign

Notes:

For background, please read our letter urging Gordon Brown to meet the Dalai Lama, earlier this week.

Matt Whitticase
Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

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