London: Hundreds of Tibetan exiles and supporters to mark 50 years of Tibetan resistance to Chinese rule

Friday, 6 March 2009

Protest at Chinese Embassy before solidarity march and rally in Trafalgar Square

Hundreds of Tibetan exiles and their supporters will march (1) through central London tomorrow to mark the 50th anniversary (2) of the Tibetan Uprising of 1959. More than 80,000 Tibetan men, women and children were slaughtered by Chinese troops after a popular uprising IN 1959 against China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. The march in London is one of many Tibet marches taking place across the world this weekend to mark next week’s anniversary and to demonstrate solidarity with 50 years of Tibetan resistance to Chinese occupation.

The march will be led by former political prisoner and monk, Palden Gyatso, who endured more than 30 years of torture and inhumane treatment in Chinese prisons in Tibet after participating in the 1959 Uprising. Palden will hand-deliver a letter (3) on behalf of the march organisers to the Chinese Embassy before the march sets off. At the Trafalgar Square rally the marchers will be addressed by Thomas Shao Jiang, a Chinese dissident who was one of the student organisers of the Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing in 1989 and Lib Dem MP, Norman Baker, a long-time Tibet supporter and parliamentary advocate for the Tibetan people.

The protesters also intend to draw public attention to the deepening crisis inside Tibet: in anticipation of next week’s anniversary China has launched an intensive security clampdown across Tibet where a state of de facto martial law (4) exists one year after protests swept across the Tibetan Plateau. The Tibetan government in exile estimates more than 200 Tibetans were killed during China’s bloody crackdown on the protests last year and Chinese state media reported that around 6000 Tibetans were detained in the immediate aftermath of the protests. The whereabouts and condition of more than 1000 Tibetans detained in the protests still remain unaccounted for by the Chinese government.

Director of Free Tibet, Stephanie Brigden, said:

“Fifty long years of Chinese oppression have led us to the present crisis inside Tibet. Gordon Brown and other world leaders must respond urgently and publicly to the Tibet crisis by taking immediate action: they should demand that China calls off its security stranglehold in Tibet as an essential first step towards backing the Dalai Lama’s initiative in finding a long-term and negotiated settlement to China’s occupation.”

Ends

Uprising March details:

Saturday 7 March 2009

Protesters assemble from 11.30am opposite the Chinese Embassy on Portland Place, London W1B 1JL. The march starts at 12pm and will proceed down Regents St and ends with a rally in Trafalgar Sq.

For further information:

Matt Whitticase, External Communications t: +44 (0)20 7324 4605 (o) / +44 (0)7515 788456 (m) or email: matt@freetibet.org

Stephanie Brigden, Director t: +44 (0)20 7324 4605 (o) / +44 (0)7530 528264 or email: stephanie@freetibet.org

Both Matt and Stephanie will be at the march and rally and can be contacted for interview on the above-listed numbers.

Notes to Editor:

(1) The protest march and rally has been jointly organised by: Free Tibet, The Tibet Society, Students for a Free Tibet, The Tibetan Community in Britain, Tibetan Youth UK.

(2) The march takes place this Saturday 7 march and the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Uprising falls on Tuesday 10 March.

(3) A copy of the letter, embargoed until 0001 GMT Sat 7 March 2009, is available at: http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/letter-chinese-ambassador

(4) Free Tibet’s report on China’s escalating security clampdown in Tibet is available at: http://www.freetibet.org/newsmedia/050309