DHARAMSHALA, November 8: As the Intercontinental Hotels Group took part in World Responsible Tourism week Tuesday to promote the company as a ‘responsible’ business, Tibetans and supporters across the world staged a demonstration “Occupation is No Vacation” at various InterContinental Hotels demanding the withdrawal of its plan to open a luxury hotel in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.
InterContinental Group, which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, is planning to to open the 1,000+ room “InterContinental Resort Lhasa Paradise” in 2014 in partnership with Deng Hong, a Chinese businessman with “close links” to the Chinese Communist Party and owner of Sichuan based Exhibition and Travel Group.
“IHG will sell the image of a spiritual and peaceful Tibet to the world but Lhasa is not another exotic location for the wealthy to tick off their bucket lists. This is an occupied and deeply repressed city and its apparent stability under Chinese rule is a product of Orwellian surveillance and the pervasive threat of lethal force,” said Eleanor Byrne- Rosengren, Director of Free Tibet.
“IHG failed to consult any Tibet groups before inking the deal on this hotel.”
In New Delhi, student activists staged a die-in action at Crowne Plaza, a part of the InterContinental Hotel Group and handed out petition to the Hotel manager.
In Canada, Tibetans and supporters staged a die-in protest that depicted the hotels being built over dead bodies in Tibet. Similar protests were also carried out in more than 15 countries in five continents.
“Tibet is an occupied and oppressed nation, where the death toll crosses over a million. It certainly is no paradise, like the InterContinental is portraying it to be. The presence of an upscale multinational brand such as InterContinental is a gift for the Chinese regime responsible for gross human rights abuses throughout Tibet,” said Rashi Jauhri, Deputy Program Director of Students for a Free Tibet, India.
“This hotel’s marketing will trade on images of an ancient Tibetan culture which in reality is being systematically destroyed by China. As long as Western multinationals collude with the Chinese regime in portraying Lhasa as a happy and peaceful place, Tibetans will suffer. IHG must pull out of Tibet.”
The campaign was organized by Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet in coordination with the International Tibet Network.