"The hunger strike gave us a presence by the Chinese Embassy all week, linking Monday's vigil to the solidarity march. At this critical time we want to make an enduring statement of our support for Tibetans within Tibet and in exile who are standing up to the brutally oppressive Chinese regime," says Terry Bettger, one of the hunger strikers.
"I had no hesitation in putting myself forward, and it was important to have a mixture of members of the Tibetan community and British supporters of the Tibetan cause because we stand together. I have no doubt that the majority of the public and the MPs that represent them are in favour of a strong demand to the Chinese government to cease the crackdown and enter into meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan government in exile."
Over the past week all of the moving pictures from Lhasa have been provided by Chinese state television, and have been put forward as evidence of a situation inflamed by Tibetan 'riots'. "I believe that most of the British public are aware of the true events in Tibet and are not swayed by the flagrant Chinese manipulation of the media." Says Bettger. "If China is the 'factory of the world' then its most plentiful output is propaganda, but it's a product we're not going to buy. Tibetans have been shot dead in the street and brutalised behind closed doors and the world can see through the fabrications and rhetoric of this Orwellian Chinese government."
As the hunger strike draws to a close Terry Bettger feels strongly that the protests and actions must continue. "We must sustain our support, it's imperative to keep this issue in the consciousness of the peoples and governments of the world and to ask them to act and pressure the Chinese government. If the West subordinates human rights for the sake of trade it runs the risk of becoming morally bankrupt. By pushing for a peaceful solution in Tibet we can impress upon China that stronger links to other nations such as the UK come with ethical conditions attached. If China wishes to prove it deserves the Olympics it can start right now with serious reforms and a drastic clean up of its atrocious human rights record. It must begin in Tibet."
Tibet supporters can join the Tibetan community and the hunger strikers on Saturday March 22nd at 11.30am at Park Crescent W1 by Regents Park underground station. Those assembled will march at 12 noon to Trafalgar Square to rally.