Tibetan flags fly on the Mall as Hu Jintao visits the Queen

Tuesday, 30 October 2001

Tibetan flags fly on the Mall for the first time as Hu Jintao meets The Queen
Demonstration by Free Tibet Campaign at Lancaster House this evening from 6.30pm - dinner hosted by John Prescott

Hu Jintao was treated to the sight of more Tibetan flags when he arrived for his audience with The Queen this afternoon. Police officers did not prevent campaigners from waving the flags at the Chinese Vice-President's convoy as he drove into Buckingham Palace, in marked contrast to their behaviour two years ago, when flags and banners were confiscated in The Mall prior to Jiang Zemin's State welcome. In May 2000 the Metropolitan Police were forced, by a legal action brought by Free Tibet Campaign, into making an admission that such action by its officers had been unlawful.

The Queen greeted the future President of China at Buckingham Palace shortly after midday. It seemed unlikely that Prince Charles would be present at the meeting, given that he had boycotted a banquet hosted by Jiang Zemin at the Chinese Embassy in 1999.

"We extend our sympathies to Her Majesty, as she is not in a position to refuse to meet the man who imposed martial law on Tibet." said Alison Reynolds, Director of Free Tibet Campaign. "However, we hope that Iain Duncan Smith and John Prescott go further than Tony Blair did yesterday when they meet Mr. Hu later today, and call for unconditional negotiations between China and the Tibetan Government in exile."

Leader of the opposition Iain Duncan Smith will call on Hu Jintao at the Dorchester Hotel at 4.00 this afternoon. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will hold talks with Mr Hu and host a dinner for him at Lancaster House this evening. Tibet supporters plan to hold a protest outside.

Free Tibet Campaign representatives will follow Mr Hu to Edinburgh tomorrow, when he will meet Scotland's First Minister, Henry McLeish and Lord Browne of BP. Free Tibet Campaign has been campaigning since March 2000 to get BP to withdraw from its $578 million investment in PetroChina, an energy company exploiting Tibet's natural gas resources.

For more information contact: Alison Reynolds, 020 7833 9958, Mobile 07711 843884.

Background Briefing

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