Poll reveals huge British public support for Tibet

Friday, 5 November 2010

An ICM poll commissioned by Free Tibet shows that more than one in three British adults think protecting human rights in Tibet is more important than maintaining good trade relations with China. It also shows that in total almost three quarters of the adult population – 74 per cent - think protecting rights in Tibet is at least as important as good trade relations.

When David Cameron meets Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in China this week (2), with trade likely to be high on the agenda, he will be setting the tone for this government’s relationship with Beijing. The message from the British public is clear: an overwhelming majority want human rights in Tibet to have at least an equal footing with trade in our relationship with China.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:

“The results of the ICM poll commissioned by Free Tibet will challenge many people’s assumptions. For three out of four British adults human rights in Tibet matter at least as much as good trade relations with China. When Mr Cameron represents us in Beijing he must reflect public opinion by making a strong public statement about the human rights crisis in Tibet.

Then poll also reveals that more than three quarters of the British electorate believe Tibet should be self-governing, and Mr Cameron should reflect this by calling publicly on China to agree to a next round of negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s envoys.”

The poll also reveals that only 3 per cent of the British public think Tibet should continue to be ruled by China, whilst more than half the population – 58 per cent - believe Tibet should be independent of China. 76 per cent of the British public support either independence or autonomy for Tibet.

Ends

Notes to Editor

1) ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+ by telephone from 29 October – 1 November 2010. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Please cite Free Tibet if you use information from this poll.

Q1. For you, is protecting human rights in Tibet more important, less important or equally as important as maintaining good trade relations with China?

More important: 36%

Equally as important: 38%

Less important: 13%

Neither are important: 2%

Don’t know: 12%

Q2. Some people think that Tibet should continue to be ruled by China, others think it should be part of China but be left to rule itself, and others think it should be independent of China. Which of these best describes what you think?

Tibet should continue to be ruled by China: 3%

Tibet should be part of China but left to rule itself: 18%

Tibet should be independent of China: 58%

NET autonomy/independence: 76%

Don’t know: 20%

2) David Cameron will be in Beijing on the 9 and 10 November; he is expected to be travelling with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Huhne and Education Minister Michael Gove.

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 please contact Strephanie Brigden:

stephanie@freetibet.org

T: 0044 207 324 4605

M: 0044 (0) 7971 479 515