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Did we really trade Tibetan lives for Chinese cash?

with one comment

dalai lamaDavid Miliband’s announcement raises questions.

Christopher Booker writing in The Daily Telegraph raises some very important human rights issues regarding Britain’s relationships with the beleagered Tibet and communist China:

Last week, I reported on the strange eagerness of our Foreign and Commonwealth Office to appease the murderous regime in Tehran. Another example of the FCO’s willingness to kowtow to nasty regimes has been flagged up in another newspaper, where a columnist researching ahead of a recent visit to China came across a remarkable statement from the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, slipped out on the FCO website on October 29 2008, just before representatives of the Dalai Lama were due to hold talks in Beijing on the future of Tibet.

Buried in the statement was Britain’s recognition for the first time that, like “all other members of the EU… we regard Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China”. The historic significance of this change was not lost on Beijing, since until then Britain, with its unique role in Tibet’s history, had for 100 years been very careful not to recognise Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. The group known as Free Tibet noted that Miliband’s concession gravely weakened the position of the Tibetan envoys without getting anything in return – commenting how extraordinary it was that Britain should have “rewarded China in such a way in the very year that China has committed its worst human rights abuses in Tibet in decades, including killing and torture”.

Here is the statement from the South Shields MP and Foreign Secretary made in October 2008:

We have made clear to the Chinese Government, and publicly, that we do not support Tibetan independence. Like every other EU member state, and the United States, we regard Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. Our interest is in long term stability, which can only be achieved through respect for human rights and greater autonomy for the Tibetans.

Yet it seems from a reading of Robert Barnett’s report for The New York Times suggests that human rights and human suffering were traded for Chinese cash to help sustain the resources of the International Monetary Fund, at a time when Gordon Brown and Barack Obamma were urging world leaders to go out and spend, spend, spend (or introduce “quantitative easing”). Surely this Labour government has not sunk so low as to ignore the historic demands of downtrodden people for their liberty, and can appease on such a scale at the drop of a large wad of cash, I feel embarrassed and ashamed by the position taken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and buried away in a statement on it’s web pages.

Barnett finishes by saying:

It may be more than banks and failed mortgages that are sold off cheap in the rush to shore up ailing economies.

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Written by curly

January 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

One Response

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  1. If it’s true, it’s shameful. But then it only mirrors society at large: how many people do you know who’d put the rights of Tibetans above cheap toys and Primark t-shirts?

    Once upon a time we used to run those nasty regimes. Now we appease them for cheap consumer goods. Ain’t progress grand?


    January 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm

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