Dharamshala: - Chinese officials in London said they felt "intimidated" by activists holding a candlelight vigil outside the Chinese Embassy to mark Human Rights Day on 10 December. The Embassy refused to accept a giant postcard calling on the Chinese government to make immediate reforms to improve human rights for all of its citizens.
The vigil was held to remember all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience who sacrificed their freedom and lives to promote and protect the human rights of those living under the Chinese Communist Party's regime in East Turkestan, Tibet and across China. The vigil was organized by Chinese Uyghur & Tibetan Solidarity UK, a coalition of organizations and activists of which Tibet Society is a founding member.
At the start of the vigil, organizers were informed by police that they would not be allowed onto Embassy property to deliver a giant postcard addressed to the Chinese Ambassador. The police said they had been informed that Chinese officials felt "intimidated" by the presence of human rights activists and supporters, and had been instructed not to let anyone approach the front entrance.
Paul Golding, Campaigns Coordinator of Tibet Society, told those gathered for the vigil, "The admission that we intimidate the Chinese Embassy officials, shows not only have they noted our presence, but are embarrassed by the vigil and fear the truth - the truth of the Chinese government's appalling human rights record and oppressive policies in Tibet and East Turkestan."
The focal point of the vigil was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with participants reading out selected Articles from the Declaration and related case information of 9 prisoners of conscience.
The giant postcard refused by the Embassy consisted of a word-cloud image made from key words in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a message to the Chinese ambassador.
During the vigil, supporters chanted slogans of freedom, human rights and democracy in Chinese, Uyghur, Tibetan and English, as a show of solidarity for all oppressed people living under Chinese Communist Party rule.
The vigil concluded with the reading of a quote from the late Nelson Mandela: "To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."