50th Anniversary Events
To mark 50 years on from the Lhasa Uprising.
To mark the passing of fifty years of oppression since the uprising in Lhasa, when Tibetans first grew weary of, and rebelled against Communist dictatorship, Tibet Support Group Grampian held a number of publicity events in Aberdeen.
Information and Petition Stall
On Saturday the 7th March 2009, we held a stall in St Nicholas Square, Aberdeen. The focus of this event was the collections of signatures for a petition to Scottish EuroMPs, asking the European Union to urge the Chinese Government to allow an independent delegation into Tibet, and free access to international journalists. It also calls upon EU member states not to send/accept trade delegations with China until the breaches of the UN Human Rights act in Tibet have been investigated and remedied. Signatures for the petition were collected in Edinburgh, Moray and Aberdeen.
Around mid-day the weather unfortunately changed to heavy rain, forcing us to move the stall under shelter. Nevertheless we still managed to attract some interest from umbrella-wielding passersby.After an hour or so the rain let up and we were able to retake our position in the square proper.
The petition gained a total of 332 signatures between this stall and the Losar (Tibetan new year) event. Additionally we received £59.62 in unsolicited donations, which will go towards good causes.
Those speaking against the motion had, I feel, much more difficult task, especially as a large part of the audience was made-up of Tibetsupporters. They nevertheless did a remarkably good job. A key point which they reiterated is that human-rights and religious freedoms are a major item of concern thoughout China, not just in Tibet. This is in fact very true, although their argument that this disproves the need to make a 'special case' of Tibet is, I think, a tenuous one.
A Chinese student joined the debate to make the point that his government had, in fact, done a great deal for Tibet, and that Tibetans did in fact enjoy priveleges that ordinary Chinese people did not, for example freedom from taxation. His point was eloquently made, and it was interesting to hear the reasoned and informed views of a Communist supporter on these matter. Even if we don't agree, it is always important to understand the position held by the other side in any matter.
The debate ran for some considerable time, and was both entertaining and informative. Perhaps not surprisingly, the motion was carried by a substantial majority.