April 10, 2006
Born on April 25, 1989 the young Panchen Lama has only known six years of freedom. While we in South Africa celebrate, Freedom Day on April 27 let us remember that a young Tibetan boy who has committed no crime, continues to languish in custody under the scrutiny of the People’s Republic of China.
This is an ideal opportunity for Hu Jintao, China’s President while he visits America, Canada and later India to demonstrate to the international community that he respects the present negotiations between the Tibet Government-in-exile and his country as serious and releases the Panchen Lama as a token of good will to the Tibetan Government-in-exile. Furthermore, with China preparing to host the 2008 Olympics they have at this juncture of preparations a further opportunity to exhibit demonstrable actions that they value human rights by releasing the Panchen Lama to the exiled Tibetan government.
The Olympics are meant to reflect “world peace through
sport”. Due to its Apartheid policies, South Africa was banned from participating
in the Olympics. Yet the International Olympic Community have purposely for
their own gain refused to engage with both Tibetan supporters and international
human rights organisations about the morality and message it says in allowing
a country like China which has a questionable human rights record to host such
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