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Nobel winners to China: Stop abusing Dalai Lama

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International Herald Tribune

Nobel winners to China: Stop abusing Dalai Lama

Friday, March 13, 2009

UNITED NATIONS: Nobel Peace Prize winners, human rights activists and such celebrities as Harrison Ford and Gwyneth Paltrow are urging China to “stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing” the Dalai Lama.

The Nobel laureates, activists and Hollywood stars have signed a letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu expressing concern at the deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet, and the apparent breakdown of talks between the Chinese government and emissaries of the Dalai Lama.

The letter, published on, an Internet site for Nobel peace laureates that promotes peace and human rights, was opened to the public for signature on Friday.

Mary Wald, chairman of the site, said when 100,000 people sign the letter it will be hand-delivered to Chinese President Hu Jintao and others.

“This is the time for a massive outpouring of support for the Dalai Lama,” Wald said. “He is making some of the strongest statements he has ever made, because the situation for the Tibetans it that critical.”

Nobel peace laureates Elie Wiesel, John Hume, David Trimble, Jody Williams, F.W. de Klerk, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams and Adolfo Perez Esquivel signed the letter along with about 40 celebrities and rights activists including Ford, Paltrow, Peter Gabriel, Richard Gere, Mia Farrow, Maria Bello, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, Ashley Judd, supermodels Christy Turlington and Naomi Campell and Queen Noor of Jordan.

Earlier this week, the Dalai Lama condemned China’s “brutal crackdown” and its harsh rule over the decades, which has turned Tibet into a “hell on earth.”

Tensions have spiked ahead of two key anniversaries this week — the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising that sent the Dalai Lama into exile and Saturday’s one-year anniversary of violent anti-Chinese riots in Lhasa that sparked Tibet’s most widespread, sustained revolt in decades.

China claims Tibet as part of its territory, but many Tibetans have chafed under China’s rule, which they say deprives them of religious freedom and autonomy. Beijing also blames the Dalai Lama, who is beloved by the Tibetan people, for advancing an agenda for independence and fomenting the anti-government protests in Lhasa.

Tutu told the Dalai Lama in the letter: “We stand with you. You define non-violence and compassion and goodness. Clearly China does not know you. It is our sincere hope that they will.”

The South African archbishop, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, asked U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay to visit Tibet with journalists and other observers “and, working with all parties involved, assist in bringing these decades of struggle to a peaceful resolution.”

“China is uniquely positioned to impact and affect our world. We ask you to please use this position to improve our world by listening to the voices of the Tibetan people, and creating a new solution for Tibet that allows this culture to flourish,” Tutu said. “This will help not only Tibet. It will help China. It will demonstrate to us that China is willing to be a responsible partner in international global affairs.”

“Finally, we ask that China stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to peace. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is not simply a holy man. He is recognized throughout the world as one of our few true moral authorities,” Tutu said.


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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

March 13, 2009 at 11:38 pm

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