Chinese Ambassador Says Tibet Cause “is doomed to failure” Print
Global Stage
Free Tibet   

In a rare direct exchange between representatives of the Chinese government and Tibetans, the Chinese ambassador to the UK told Tibetan activists at a public talk in Bath, UK, on 17th May, that “your cause is doomed to failure… you will never succeed. Period.”

The ambassador’s exchanges with activists were caught on camera and video is available from Free Tibet. Before the talk, at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, organisers requested members of the audience to remove or hide Tibetan symbols such as scarves, t-shirts and other clothing, apparently at the ambassador’s request.

Following a peaceful demonstration outside the venue, a number of Tibetans and Tibet campaigners were among the audience for the talk. In answer to a question from a Chinese audience member about China’s reputation abroad, the ambassador spoke at length about the happiness of people in Tibet. He was then challenged by Tibetans and Tibet campaigners.

· Tibetan Sherab Gyaltsen challenged the ambassador on its occupation, Tibetan self-immolations and the six-year-old Tibetan boy abducted by the Chinese authorities on 17 May 1995 (exactly 21 years before the ambassador’s talk) after being identified as the Panchen Lama, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most senior figures. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima has not been seen in public since the abduction and no verified information about him has ever been released.

· Responding to a question from Tibetan Sherab Gyaltsen, Ambassador Liu said “There are 3 million Tibetans: everyone would agree they are much happier, live longer and are much freer”. Mr Gyaltsen replied “not according to my family in Tibet”.

· In response to persistent questioning the ambassador told Tibet campaigners “you are violating [the] human rights of the majority audience in this meeting”. When a campaigner responds “that’s nothing compared to torture”, he angrily replies “that’s absolute lies from you”.

(In December 2015, the United Nations Committee on Torture found that “The practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the [Chinese] criminal justice system.” )

· Audience members pressed the ambassador on the case of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima,. Mr Liu replied “that has never been recognised, so-called – he is just [an] ordinary boy”.


Sherab Gyaltsen said: “I’ve heard Chinese propaganda all my life but it is still shocking to hear someone telling lies in person about your country and the experiences of your own people. I know Tibetans in Tibet are not happy as the ambassador claimed, because Tibetans in Tibet tell us of the oppression they endure. Tibetans want freedom and no one has the right to tell them they cannot have it. Tibet will be free.”

Free Tibet campaigns manager Alistair Currie, who attended the meeting, said: “The ambassador let the mask slip after being rattled by activists challenging him. After lengthy propagandising he found himself dealing with persistent and unapologetic campaigners holding him accountable for his government’s actions. He’d already shown the limits of China’s current charm offensive by trying to purge the room of any sign of Tibetan identity or support for Tibet. Tibetans inside Tibet are denied the right to show their flag on pain of imprisonment. As we saw during the State Visit of Xi Jinping, the Chinese government wants to do the same in our free and democratic country.

“The Chinese ambassador is a representative of a human rights abusing regime, responsible for the occupation of Tibet and the brutal repression of the Tibetan people. While he tours the country spreading China’s lies and showing a friendly face, no one must forget that.”

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 October 2017 19:30