2000 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion, by the Chinese Red Army, of neighbouring and previously independent country, Tibet. This invasion took place at a time, shortly after the close of the Second World War, when few other nations had the resources to become involved in yet another struggle against a dictatorial power's expansionist policies . Hence, at the time, the invasion was not significantly opposed by Western forces, or by Russia.
Since the time of the invasion, conditions for people living in Tibet have steadily deteriorated. They continue to do so, even today, to the extent that the Tibetan culture and way of life is itself under direct threat of obliteration, with one in six of the population killed either my starvation or by the actions of Chinese military forces.
The Chinese Government refuses to recognise the exiled Tibetan leaders, headed by the Dalai Lama, and is not prepared to allow any measures which would improve living conditions for those in the conquered land.
Contrary to some opinions which have been voiced, we in the west DO have the power to change this attitude. China, like most modern nations, needs to trade with other major players in the World market if its economy is to remain viable. Lobbying of politicians has been hightly successul in this area, for example in persuading the Worl d Bank not to approve a loan to China for colonisation work which would disadvantage the native populations in certain areas of Tibet.
We ask you to lend your support to out petitons, which are polite, carefully-worded and targeted at specific individuals witht the authority to influence China's political and trade relations with the outside world. Our aim is to make China re-think its policies, and concede that the humanitarian interests of the Tibetan people should come before their own financial gain.
To publicise our work, an information stall was set-up in St. Nicholas Square on the anniversay if the invasion. This attracted considerable interest, and gathered a substantial number of signatures for our petition to the Chinese Premier.
The following Sunday a walk was organised from Castle Street to Torry Battery, where we lit candles and held a 50-second silence - one second for each year of Tibet's occupation. Again this served well as a publicity event, with members of the public being seen to take an interest in the proceedings.
Here we see the group gathered in Castle Street, about to set off.
Some pictures from along the route, which was via Union Street to Market Street, then across Victoria Bridge into Torry. From there, the procession took the coastal route past the harbour to the headland, and finally to the Napoleonic fort, where we held the candle-lit ceremony.
Arriving at Torry Battery just before sunset, candles were lit (successfully, despite the wind!) and a 50-second silence held. The weather for this event had proved very fortuitous,as inspite of the grim forecast,we were able to enjoy warm afternoon and a breathtaking sunset.
Anyone interested in taking part in sponsored walks, or helping with the other fundraising activites is very welcome to contact us. The Group meets regularly in Aberdeen. Contact person is David Lindsey, tel 01224-314127.
Other related links:
The (real) Tibetan Government's Website
Free Tibet Campaign site