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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Letter to Mr. Jacques Rogge, President, International Olympic Committee

March 15, 2008

Mr. Jacques Rogge
President
International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Switzerland
Fax: + 41 21 621 6216

Dear Mr. Rogge:

We the undersigned, representatives of (150) Tibetan organisations and
Tibet Support Groups around the world, are writing to urgently request
that the International Olympic Committee make a public statement about
the discrepancy between China’s promises to uphold human rights as an
Olympic host and its violent crackdown in Tibet over the last five days.
We also urge you to immediately remove Tibet from the Beijing Olympic
Torch Relay route.

Reports from Lhasa yesterday describe how attempts by Buddhist monks
from Ramoche Temple to participate in further peaceful protest against
Chinese rule led to violent clashes with armed police. Police fired live
ammunition into the crowd of protesters and at least 80 people are
reported dead. Large-scale protests have occurred for two days in Xiahe,
Amdo (Kanlho "Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture", Gansu Province), as well
as other unrest throughout Amdo; an unprecedented situation which
demonstrates the scale of Tibetan dissatisfaction with Chinese rule. The
British Embassy in Beijing has confirmed "many injuries." The three
major monasteries of Lhasa continue to be sealed off by thousands of
soldiers and armed police.

The Olympic Charter states that the goal of Olympism is to "place sport
at the service of the harmonious development of man...promoting a
peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity." The
current violent crackdown by the Chinese authorities on peaceful monks
and other protesters in Tibet is clearly the antithesis of this goal.

The tensions in Tibet and the resulting crackdown have been aggravated
by the IOC’s policy of allowing the Chinese government to use the
Olympics to improve its international image and deflect criticism of its
human rights record and occupation of Tibet, while remaining utterly
silent on the numerous egregious human rights violations the government
has carried out both in Tibet and elsewhere. Your silence as China
suppresses the current protests with brutality can only be taken as
encouragement by the Chinese authorities to continue, confident that
they will face no repercussions.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Pieter van den Hoogenband recently
called on you, as the highest leader in sports, to speak out publicly in
favour of improvement in human rights in China. Given the current crisis
in Tibet, we urge you in the strongest terms to make a public statement
about China’s failure to live up to its promises to improve human rights
before Beijing 2008, to remove all stops in Tibet from the Olympic Torch
Relay route, and to urge the Chinese authorities to use restraint in the
current situation in Tibet.

Thank you.

Sincerely,


Canada Tibet Committee and the International Tibet Support Network

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