Monday, March 24, 2008

Chinese intellectuals: Give Tibet freedom of speech

Isabelle Duerme - AHN News Writer

Beijing, China (AHN) - Several Chinese intellectuals and lawmakers recently sent an open letter to the government insisting that Tibet be given freedom of speech and religion.

Signed by 29 of China's most prominent scholars and lawyers, the petition criticized the "propaganda" of the Chinese media, which has filtered outgoing footage and news articles regarding the recent Tibetan protest crackdowns.

"As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms the standards of modern civilization," read the letter. It also urged for the government and the citizens to "stop the violent suppression" of Tibet, and insisted that the outbreak of protests indicated "serious mistakes in the work that has been done with regard to Tibet."

The petition's signers, including writers Wang Lixiong, Liu Xiaobo, Yu Jie, and other intellectuals, also accused the Chinese media of "stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation" that was detrimental to the goal of safeguarding national unity, according to India's Rediff News.

Issues regarding the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama were also mentioned, with the signers proclaiming support for the spiritual leader's teachings of non-violence.

"We support the Dalai Lama's appeal for peace," said the letter "and hope that the ethnic conflict can be dealt with according to the principles of goodwill, peace, and non-violence."

Related reports:
New York Times

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