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FREE TIBET

I felt that I could not let the Olympics pass without writing something about Free Tibet. As a ‘political’ movement they are an unlikely charity for me to support, but I was moved to do so some years ago following the Chinese State Visit when Free Tibet protesters were detained for protesting in London. That, I believe, was one of the more shameful events in the recent history of this country.

Many people will now be aware of at least some of the issues surrounding the long and ongoing occupation of Tibet by the Chineses from the events shown on TV earlier this summer. Not so many will fully appreciate the level of repression that Tibetans have been subjected to during the past 49 years or just how many of the country’s citizens have been mistreated and imprisoned without just cause. The Olympics has raised Tibet’s profile, but I fear it is an opportunity missed. The country needs releasing from the misery of its current, stiffling occupation, and even if full independence may be out of reach, now is surely the time for world’s leaders to apply some pressure on the Chinese Government for a resolution of the problem.

Should China have been allowed to host the 2008 Olympics? My view is that they should not. Their record on human rights is nothing like good enough to merit the award of the games. Moreover, they are a malign influence behind a number of the world’s nastier conflicts. As we celebrate Britain’s medal success, I would ask you to consider supporting this important cause. Have a look at the website www.freetibet.org and find out more about the struggle. Perhaps you might be tempted to add your voice to those chipping away at one of the world’s great injustices.        

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