In advance of meetings next week between the Executive International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Association of National Olympic Committees in Beijing, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) in Amsterdam has personally delivered a letter to the Netherlands National Olympic Committee (NOC), expressing ICT’s deep concern at the security risks and the risks to civilians of unrest related to the Olympic Torch’s journey through Tibet and urged the Dutch NOC to convey these concerns during their meetings in Beijing.
In the letter to the Dutch NOC, ICT stated:
“The IOC must withdraw its authorization for the running of the Olympic Torch through the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other Tibetan autonomous areas of the PRC. The IOC, by its own admission, is not a political organization, but it is naive, if not irresponsible, to conduct such a needlessly provocative act that will inject another element of resentment into an already unstable situation.”
“The Olympic Torch, a symbol of peace, does not belong to Beijing but to citizens around the world, including the Tibetan people. It is in their name that we call for the IOC to re-route the Olympic Torch and avoid a further decline in an already tragic situation,” the letter continued.
The Beijing Olympic Committee intends to run the Olympic Torch up Mount Everest, through the Tibetan Autonomous Region, as well as Tibetan areas of Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan Provinces. All provinces have seen major outbreaks of Tibetan protest and subsequent crackdown by Chinese security forces in recent weeks. No western journalists or independent observers are currently allowed into Tibetan areas.
The IOC’s has dismissed appeals by Tibet campaigners to withdraw the torch from Tibet, using language which demonstrates a profound failure to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation there.
“The IOC seems totally out of touch with the situation on the ground in Tibet. By refusing to acknowledge just how far the situation has declined in Tibet in recent weeks, the IOC is putting Tibetan lives at risk and they must be held accountable for that,” said Tsering Jampa, Executive Director of ICT Europe.
Ms. Tsering Jampa
Executive Director, ICT Europe