Protest just muddies the waters

PUBLISHED: 11:05 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

The 'Free Tibet' banner unfurled by Philip Kirk and friends in Beijing

The 'Free Tibet' banner unfurled by Philip Kirk and friends in Beijing

SIR — Re your story headlined Philip s Climb For Tibetan Freedom (Herts Advertiser, August 21). Philip Kirk should have been even-handed enough during his Beijing protest to simultaneously apologise for our own nation s illegal and violent invasion of a

SIR - Re your story headlined "Philip's Climb For Tibetan Freedom"(Herts Advertiser, August 21).

Philip Kirk should have been even-handed enough during his Beijing protest to simultaneously apologise for our own nation's illegal and violent invasion of a sovereign Middle Eastern country and its ongoing occupation. If he had, the Beijing residents might have been more understanding towards him.

I am in touch over the internet with some old schoolmates now living in China. The people there are generally well aware of the continuing problems their nation still faces. Among those, in common with many other nations, are independence movements among minority groups. What riles them even above the distorted reporting in the international media over issues like Tibet is what they see as the hypocrisy of westerners, their historical oppressors. Imagine if during some of our own troubles of the recent past, German visitors had unfurled banners in Central London protesting about Bloody Sunday and a "Free Ireland".

In this present culture of instant celebrity it may not be so surprising to read that Philip has not bothered to deeply investigate the situation with Tibet before undertaking his gesture. But in this age of the internet it should have been fairly straightforward to access historical information on what life was really like under the previous reign of the Dalai Lama's theocracy.

It was no democracy, and was very far from the paradise many Westerners seem to fondly imagine. As a former member of Amnesty I am all for highlighting the injustices of this imperfect world of ours, but in an informed and considered manner which will likely benefit those concerned instead of just muddy the waters.

RONALD WONG,

Windmill Avenue, St Albans.

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