Another China propaganda stunt set to backfire?
At the close of its international meeting on investment in Tibet, China state media has claimed that Western politicians attending the conference have signed up to a document condemning the "Dalai clique", criticising "bias" in the Western media and observing the happiness of Tibetans. So far, just one of the participants, New Zealand's Sir Bob Parker has disavowed the document although even he is still talking of the "happiness" he has observed in Tibet. As the meeting was taking place, China's security forces shot peaceful Tibetan protesters in Kardze, severely injuring 10.
China's propaganda on Tibet
The meeting was organised by the Tibetan regional government and the State Information Office of China and attended by delegates from 30 countries. At its end, a document called the "Lhasa consensus" was issued, saying (among much else): • Participants unanimously agree that what they have actually seen in Tibet differs radically from what the 14th Dalai and the Dalai clique have said. The Dalai clique's statements on Tibet are distorted and incorrect. Many Western media reports are biased and have led to much misunderstanding. (emphasis added) • Participants notice that Tibet enjoys sound economic growth, social harmony, deep-rooted Tibetan culture and beautiful natural scenery, and the people enjoy a happy life. • Participants notice that ordinary people in Tibet are satisfied with their well-off lives, good education, sound medical care, housing and various social securities. All ethnic groups in Tibet have full confidence and motivation for building a better future.
Western politicians duped?
Sir Bob Parker told the BBC that he was "aware" of the statement but hadn't signed up to it. Meanwhile, the UK's Lord Davidson is still refusing interviews or comment despite being reported to have made comments criticising the media and praising China earlier in the week. Our director, Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, said:
"As forum participants were enjoying China’s hospitality, peaceful Tibetan protesters were being shot by China’s security forces. Nothing could make more clear how wrong their participation was. The statement issued at the end of this event shows that the whole thing was an exercise in propaganda which Western participants blindly or willingly allowed themselves to become part of.
"Many may well be surprised to find themselves apparently endorsing these positions. We look forward to strong statements of repudiation by all the international participants but that does not alter the fact that their participation was ill-advised at best and reprehensible at worst."
Another propaganda campaign backfired?
It is likely other international participants (who include Austrian, Irish and Japanese political figures) will also reject the statement issued in their name. The unsuccessful attempt by China to use western political figures to spread Tibet propaganda echoes its use of fake personal Twitter accounts, exposed and ended by Free Tibet last month.
Contact your foreign minister and demand they counter China's propaganda and speak up on Tibet.