Today MPs and peers, including Harry Cohen and Barbara Keeley, laid a wreath at the memorial for Victims of Torture, Westminster Abbey in memory of the 100,000s of Tibetans who have lost their lives as a result of China’s occupation of Tibet since 1950.
Prayers were led by Canon Wright from the Abbey and two former nuns, Gyaltsen Drolkar and Namdrol Lhamo, who were jailed for 12 years for doing no more than shouting ‘Free Tibet’ and taking part in a peaceful demonstration of nuns wanting to be able to follow their religious practices unhindered by the Chinese authorities.
In the UK, we live in a democratic society with freedom of expression, freedom to follow our beliefs, freedom to follow our traditions … the Tibetan people in Tibet are denied these basic human rights. On 10th March 1959, Tibetan people in Lhasa rose up against China’s occupation of Tibet. In the immediate aftermath thousands of innocent Tibetan men, women and children either disappeared or were killed. Despite these horrific consequences, in the intervening 47 years the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile have adhered to and sustained a unique campaign advocating non-violent means to find justice for Tibet and its people. On Saturday there will be a march through London to commemorate this uprising and to call on our government to actively and publicly support this long-standing peaceful struggle for the right to freedom.
Philippa Carrick of the Tibet Society said “It is time for Tony Blair to examine his conscious in dealing with the Chinese government on fundamental issues such as human rights and freedom of expression. The Chinese regime does no more than pay lip service to their alleged commitment to improving human rights within China and our government continues to believe this whitewash whilst there continues to be a repressive and hard line rule within Tibet. Mr Blair frequently speaks out against terrorism; surely his conscious should prod him to speak out as vociferously in support of Tibet’s peaceful campaign for justice.”
Gather from 11am at the Chinese Embassy, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1
Nearest tubes: Oxford Circus, Regents Park or Great Portland Street
March begins 11.30am This year we are asking supporters to wear red, blue or yellow, to reflect the colours of the Tibetan flag.
Rally at King Charles Street, SW1 from 12.30-1pm (approx)
Guest speakers: Namdrol Lhamo and Gyaltsen Drolkar, ex-political prisoners (two of the Drapchi nuns) and Harry Cohen MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet
Press & photographers welcome.
For further details, background information or an interview with Gyaltsen Drolkar
and Namdrol Lhamo contact: Alli Barnes or Philippa Carrick at the Tibet Society