Tibet Support Group Grampian was founded in 1993 following the Dalai Lama's visit to Aberdeen, Scotland, in that year. The group has always had close ties with Aberdeen University.
As one of the more active pro-Tibet campaigning groups in Scotland, we organise regular events to raise public awareness of the continuing abuses of the land and its people by the ruling Chinese government.
Our aims are firstly to raise public awareness of the ongoing situation in Tibet. It's surprising how many people have heard of Tibet but assume that the problems there were resolved years ago. -No, if anything they are worse than ever.
Secondly, to put pressure on politicians to take take steps to resolve the situation. This includes our own representatives at Holyrood and Westrminster, who are all too keen to put trading with China before criticising the actions of its government as regards exploitation of ethnic minorities.
Thirdly, to collect money for Tibetans in need. Much of this goes toward public services such as education and medical care for Tibetans in exile in Northern India. In some cases, the Chinese authorities also allow aid to be provided to locations inside of Tibet itself.
Membership of the group comes from a wide range of backgrounds. Whilst some have an interest in studying Tibetan and Chinese affairs, most are laypersons whose concern is a humanitarian one. A few are practising Buddhists, but most have no particular religious leaning. Age of members extends from the very young to the retired.
Our reasons for taking an interest in Tibetan affairs are varied, although for most of us it's a question of trying to make change for the better in a situation where people are suffering hardship. Myself, I became interested after reading Heinrich Harrer's book, 'Seven Years in Tibet' describing the years leading-up to the Chinese invasion.