At the start of his 10 day trip to Europe, Dr. Yang Jianli, President of Initiatives for China (Citizen Power for China), met Lord Alton in the Upper House of the UK Parliament. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss human rights issues in China, including the rising number of self-immolations in Tibet and the imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Parliament Member Lord David Alton is a crossbench member of the Upper House of Parliament. Lord Alton has a long history of defending human rights. In 2008, after the British Olympic Association forced British athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s human right issues, PM Lord Alton stood up and defended the athletes’ freedom of speech. He condemned the move as “making a mockery” of the right to free speech. Lord Alton was also a delegate along with three other Members of Parliament that visited Tibet in 2009. During the visit, Lord Alton raised the cases of Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak who were sentenced to death after the March 14 incident in 2008.
After discussing the new situations of Tibet and Liu Xiaobo, MP Lord Alton and Dr. Yang Jianli agreed to fight together to raise awareness of these issues globally. MP Lord Alton promised to work on the four actions Dr. Yang Jianli raised. These actions include: 1) request the British Government to raise the situation in Tibet and the detention of Liu Xiaobo to the Chinese government bilaterally; 2) request that the British Government send an independent delegation to Tibet to investigate the self-immolation cases; 3) request the British Government to work with other western democracies to establish a multi-front organization to directly address the Tibet self-immolation crisis; and 4) request that diplomats from the British Embassy in Beijing visit Liu Xia, the wife of Liu Xiaobo, who is now under house arrest even though she has not been convicted of any crime.
Dr. Yang also took a trip to the Lower House of the UK Parliament. He met with MP Robert Buckland. MP Robert Buckland is also the chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission. Earlier this year, MP Robert Buckland met the representatives of Mr. Magnitsky and helped to have the House pass the legislation on banning those who were responsible for Mr. Magnitsky’s death and abuses in the Russian prison. The Initiatives for China is currently campaigning for a similar measure in the United States to impose travel ban against China’s individual human rights abusers (more details about IFC campaign please click here). The issues Dr. Yang discussed with Mr. Buckland included the CCP’s political shifts after its 18th Congress, Liu Xiaobo’s Case, Tibetans self-immolation, and freedom of religion.
While in London, Dr. Yang will also meet with other government officials to raise with them concerns about the human rights situation in Tibetan and Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment.