Hu's coming to dinner

Tuesday, 30 October 2001

Hu's Coming to Dinner: Scotland's First Minister hosts dinner for Chinese Vice President on Wednesday 31 October
Free Tibet Campaign asks "Will China learn from Scotland's democratic devolution?"

Hu Jintao, the man feted as the next leader of China will visit Scotland on Wednesday 31 October and be received with an official dinner by Scotland's First Minister Henry McLeish. Free Tibet demonstrators from Edinburgh will seek to ensure that the so-far public shy Vice President hears the message that China's continued occupation of Tibet is unjust. "Scotland's devolved democracy experience is surely one that China could learn from in relation to Tibet. We think that it is significant that Edinburgh was chosen as only one of two UK cities for the Vice President to visit and hope that the First Minister takes the opportunity to make that link" said Free Tibet Campaign's Anne Callaghan.

Free Tibet Campaigners have also urged the First Minister to call on the Chinese Vice President to move away from his hardline past and engage in dialogue with the Tibetan government in exile, thus ensuring his place in the history books for the right reasons. Anne Callaghan commented that, "The Prime Minister raised the issue of Tibet with Hu when he met on Monday 29 October. It would be a poor reflection on Scotland if the First Minister failed to at least do similarly. The First Minister should press for the Chinese to engage in a dialogue process with the Tibetan government in exile to end over fifty years of oppression".

Free Tibet Campaign will have a peaceful presence at: Wednesday 31 October, 4pm National Museum of Scotland ( Chamber St) more to be announced.

As part of his Edinburgh visit Hu Jintao will visit the Royal Botannic Gardens, the National Museum of Scotland and then go on to a dinner with the First Minister Henry McLeish and invited guests at Edinburgh Castle. On Thursday 1 November, the Vice President will also receive a visit from BP's Lord Browne. BP is a company with significant investments in China, particularly PetroChina, a company exploiting Tibet's natural resources . BP has been the target of a concerted campaign by Free Tibet Campaign as we believe that this investment is in contradiction with the company's own ethical policy.

Free Tibet Campaign has written to the First Minister calling on him to:

Press Hu Jintao for a commitment to enter into unconditional negotiations with the Tibetan Government in Exile on the future status of Tibet

Ask for assurances that the current political situation will not be used by China to crackdown on so-called 'separatists', the vast majority of whom are peaceful in their expression of opposition to Chinese rule

For more information contact: Anne Callaghan on 07796 012533 or Alison Reynolds on 020 7833 9958.

Background Briefing

Press Release - 30 October - Tibetan flags fly on the Mall for the first time as Hu Jintao meets The Queen

Press Release - 29 October - Blair must promote peaceful solution to Tibet's occupation

Press Release - 26 October - Hu Jintao to meet Blair in first UK visit

Press Advisory - 23 October - China's future President, Hu Jintao, to visit UK