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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Pro-Tibet activist speaks in Hong Kong despite China objections

April 7, 2009

Asia-Pacific News
April 6, 2009

Hong Kong - A leading campaigner for Tibetan
independence delivered a speech in Hong Kong
Monday after an earlier engagement was postponed
following objections from Beijing officials.

Kate Saunders, communications director of the
Washington-based International Campaign for
Tibet, had been scheduled to speak at Hong Kong's
Foreign Correspondents Club three weeks ago.

However, the speech was controversially postponed
after officials from China's Foreign Ministry in
Hong Kong contacted the club to say they were unhappy about the speech.

The club was reportedly urged to delay the speech
until the Foreign Ministry had been given the
chance to find someone to present Beijing's view, which it agreed to do.

The speech was rescheduled for Monday and
Saunders spoke with no one present from the
Foreign Ministry or any other pro-Beijing organisation to respond.

Saunders told her audience: 'Beijing has sought
to dominate the debate on Tibet and to silence
all discussion that does not conform with the state's point of view.

'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' objections to
this talk are another example of the government's
relentless efforts to cover up its repression in Tibet.'

Tibet, she said, was currently undergoing 'a
violent crackdown following a year of
overwhelmingly peaceful dissent against Chinese rule.'

Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the
mini-constitution that has ruled Hong Kong since
it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 under a 'one
country, two systems' arrangement.

However, anti-China protesters expected to take
part in Tibet demonstrations during the Olympic
torch relay through Hong Kong in 2008 were
refused entry to the former British colony.

Tibet has reportedly been reopened to foreigners
in April after being closed off by Beijing as it
marked the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's
1959 flight as well as the first anniversary of the 2008 anti-China riots.

Read more: Pro-Tibet activist speaks in Hong Kong
despite China objections - Monsters and Critics -
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