Hague must speak up for Tibetans’ rights before there is more bloodshed – Three Tibetans shot dead by Chinese security forces during unarmed protests

On 23 January, Chinese security forces opened fire on unarmed Tibetan protesters in Drango, Kardze which resulted in fatally wounding three demonstrators and injuring a number of others. This followed an incident last week where again security forces opened fire on an unarmed crowd in Ngaba injuring at least two Tibetans.

In the light of the recent self-immolations by Tibetan nuns and monks, the growing number of demonstrations inside Tibet and the extreme response being taken by Chinese security forces, Tibet Society calls upon the British government to speak up for Tibetans’ human rights and condemn China’s abhorrent use of force on unarmed Tibetans.

Philippa Carrick, CEO of Tibet Society, said, “William Hague has been consistent in defending human rights and supporting political and economic freedom in the Middle East. Now is the time for him to speak up for and defend the rights of the Tibetan people before there is even greater bloodshed.”

With the Chinese New Year having just been celebrated and the Tibetan New Year falling on 22 February, closely followed by the 63rd commemoration of the Tibetan National Uprising Day on 10 March, there is a real danger of a huge escalation in tensions that could result in the loss of many lives.

In view of this, it is increasingly critical that the British government and Foreign Secretary William Hague publicly condemn the actions of the Chinese security forces. At the same time there must be an urgent call on the Chinese government to show restraint in its response to Tibetans who are doing no more than exercising their fundamental human right to peacefully demonstrate to express their long and deep held grievances against Chinese government rule and show their great sadness and pain over the self-immolations by nuns and monks.

The British government repeatedly asserts that its aspiration is to see “long-term stability for Tibet” and its belief that, “this is best achieved through respect for the universal principles of human rights, and genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution”. In the rapidly deteriorating situation inside Tibet, now would be a key time for Britain to lead the way and urge world governments to multi-laterally encourage and support the Chinese government to give consideration to the Tibetan people’s grievances, engage in points of substance and set in place practical mechanisms whereby a meaningful and productive dialogue could begin.

China’s actions in Tibet show a complete disregard to basic human rights. Its policy of quashing any form of demonstration or criticism through increasing instances of arbitrary arrests, trials conducted without access to independent representation, meting out of draconian prison sentences, torture whilst in detention and now even more extreme measures such as firing on unarmed crowd, illustrate an ever more flagrant contempt of international standards. If governments do not consistently stand up and condemn China’s actions, it is tantamount to giving China carte blanche to continue its appalling policies unabated.

For China to be part of the international community it must adhere to international norms and principles. If China is allowed to continue its policies inside Tibet unchecked, the world could witness a horrific and tragic meltdown. We will all have responsibility for having allowed it to happen.

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