Exposed: Fiasco of Tibet Week at Shanghai Expo
Tibet Week at the Shanghai Expo is a crude attempt to gloss over the reality of human rights violations and marginalisation that are facts of life for Tibetans in Tibet. The farcical parade of smiling Tibetans, industrial development which China says has benefitted Tibetans and apparently thriving Tibetan culture will run for one week from 1 September.
“Any visit to Tibet Week or the Tibet Pavilion by a foreign visitor to Shanghai Expo constitutes a tacit endorsement of China’s policies in Tibet of arbitrary detention, torture, disappearances, patriotic re-education and the occupation of Tibet. Pleading ignorance of what is happening in Tibet is simply not an excuse. Recent coverage from foreign journalists on a rare escorted press trip into Tibet made clear the climate of fear that pervades the country: anyone who wishes to can easily inform themselves of the reality of life inside Tibet today.”
Free Tibet is particularly concerned that British Minister of State Jeremy Browne, who will be in Shanghai later this month, does not visit the Tibet pavilion at Shanghai Expo.
As if to undermine its own propaganda, on the eve of this picturesque show in Shanghai, Chinese state media Xinhua acknowledged on Monday that only a few days earlier Chinese police shot and “accidentally killed” a Tibetan man in eastern Tibet. According to Xinhua, Chinese police fired warning shots with what was described as an “anti-riot shotgun” into a group of Tibetans who were protesting outside a government building. According to Free Tibet’s information thus far, the protest was peaceful, but use of disproportionate force by Chinese forces against civilians is not uncommon in today’s Tibet.
Chinese government subsidies into the Tibetan Autonomous Region doubled the economy in the first half of the decade. But most of this investment has been awarded to Chinese state-owned companies so that although money is going into Tibet, it goes straight back out again and Tibetans do not benefit; for example illiteracy levels in Tibet are up to eight times higher than those in China as a whole.
Notes to Editor
· Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.
· For in-depth analysis of the harsh realities of a week in Tibet, Free Tibet provides a counterpoint to the Shanghai Expo at www.freetibet.org/pages/shanghaiexposed.html
· United Nations Development Programme report, 2009
For further information please contact Strephanie Brigden:
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