Shoppers on Princes Street yesterday were asked to remember Tibet when China hosts the Olympics in 2008. As the memory of the winter Olympics fades, students from the Edinburgh University Tibet Society (EUTS) dressed up as Tibetan prisoners, chained themselves to oversized Olympic rings and stood frozen in a grisly scene. Behind them a banner reading 'China: Passing the Torch to Torture' flew alongside Tibetan flags. On the street, volunteers collected signatures of support from people stopping to watch.
Iona Liddell, Vice-President of the EUTS said "the eyes of the whole world will be on China in 2008. If no one does anything about human rights now, when will they?"
China will host the Games before they come to London in 2012. The International Olympic Committee's decision to award the Olympics to Beijing sparked controversy when it was announced in 2001. Human rights organisation Free Tibet Campaign fears that the Games will allow China to hide its human rights violations. James Gould, EUTS' President said 'we're not anti-Olympics, but we all need to use this opportunity to hold China accountable. If we don't act now, China's oppressive regime will become acceptable in the eyes of the world".
The students chose today to stage their protest as it marks the anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day. On March 10th 1959 a demonstration in Lhasa, Tibet, ended in the death of more than eighty-seven thousand Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese Army.
The international organisation Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) supports this action, along with hundreds of other protests around the world marking Tibetan Uprising Day. Spokesperson for SFT UK Iain Thom said "Basically, the message is: Watch the Olympics; Watch China".