Campaigners fighting for the rights of Tibetans and raising funds for humanitarian projects visited Corby to support plans for the town to adopt a village in Tibet.
Paul Golding, of the London-based Tibet Society, and Margaret Richardson, of the Rigul Trust, addressed a meeting in the council chamber in the Cube on Wednesday (September 11)
At a full meeting of Corby Council on Thursday, September 19, members will be asked to adopt the remote Rigul district of Tibet, with the aim of encouraging other organisations in the town to form cultural links with the area and help support its school and health clinic.
The motion has been proposed by deputy leader of the council, Jean Addison, and seconded by Cllr Chris Stanbra and, if agreed, would make Corby Council the first authority in the UK to adopt an area of Tibet.
After a 12-minute video of conditions inside Tibet, shot undercover by a French film crew, Mr Golding said: “If Corby adopts the Rigul community it would be a huge development. It would help raise awareness of the issues in Tibet and, we hope, encourage other authorities in Britain to follow suit.”
He said under the Chinese regime Tibetans are arrested and detained for printing political leaflets or even displaying a photograph of the Dalai Lama. Those arrested are tortured and many disappear without trace.
Tibetans are denied the right to education in their own language and possession of the Tibetan national flag is a crime.
Any public criticism of China’s policies in Tibet can result in a long prison sentence and there have now been 120 self immolations by Tibetans in protest at the regime.
Mrs Richardson, one of the founders of the Rigul Trust which raised money to build the school and health clinic in the region, said: “It is an honour to be invited to Corby to talk about our work and I hope that the council will agree to give its support.”
Cllr Bob Riley, who organised the meeting with Cllr Addison, said: “If this motion is passed it won’t cost a penny of taxpayers’ money.
“In France a programme of local authorities adopting areas of Tibet has been rolled out and we hope Corby can start the same process here in the UK.
“We can make a difference. We can highlight the plight of Tibetans and send out a message to embarrass the Chinese government.”
For more information visit www.tibetsociety.com and www.rigultrust.org.