The Olympic Torch Relay Campaign

LHASA/BERLIN (Own report) - Conference reports and the research of a Canadian journalist reveal that a German Foreign Ministry front organization is playing a decisive role in the preparations of the anti-Chinese Tibet campaign. According to this information, the campaign is being orchestrated from a Washington based headquarters. It had been assigned the task of organizing worldwide "protests" at a conference organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (affiliated with the German Free Democratic Party - FDP) in May 2007. The plans were developed with the collaboration of the US State Department and the self-proclaimed Tibetan Government in Exile and call for high profile actions along the route of the Olympic Torch Relay and are supposed to reach a climax in August during the games in Beijing. The campaign began already last summer and is now profiting from the current uprising in the west of the People's Republic of China that is receiving prominent coverage in the German media. The uprising was initiated with murderous pogrom-like attacks by Tibetan gangs on non-Tibetan members of the population, including the Muslim Chinese minority. Numerous deaths of non-Tibetans provoked a reaction of the Chinese security forces.

According to the research by a Canadian journalist, a conference organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNSt) gave the impetus to the current anti-Chinese Tibet campaign that violently forced the interruption of the Olympian Torch Relay in Paris last Monday.[1] The conference was the fifth "International Tibet Support Groups Conference," that was held from May 11 - 14, 2007 in Brussels. According to FNSt information this conference was supposed to do nothing other than the four preceding conferences [2] - "coordinate the work of the international Tibet groups and consolidate the links between them with the central Tibetan Government in Exile."[3] The German foundation, which is largely state financed, began the conference preparations in March 2005, and coordinated its plans with the Dalai Lama at his headquarters in the self-proclaimed Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala, India. More than 300 participants from 56 countries, 36 Tibetan associations and 145 Tibet support groups were represented at the conference.


After several days of consultations the conference ended with a concerted "plan of action". The paper is entitled "Roadmap for the Tibet Movement for the Coming Years" covering four areas of interest: "political support for negotiations", "human rights", "environment and development" and "the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing." The results of the conference are directed to the Tibetan people as well as "their supporters around the world."[4] Rolf Berndt, a member of the FNSt's executive council in Brussels, declared that the Olympic Games "are an excellent opportunity" to publicly promote the cause of the "Tibet Movement".[5] The conference participants agreed to make the Olympics the single focus of attack for their activities for the next 15 months.[6] They hired a full-time organizer for their campaign, who has since been directing the worldwide Tibet actions from their Washington headquarters.

State Department

The decisions taken at the conference in Brussels, prepared by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, are particularly significant not only because of the large number of participants but also because of the influential politicians who helped in their formulation. For example the self-proclaimed Tibetan Government in Exile, which enjoys much prestige among separatists, was represented by its "Prime Minister" Samdong Rinpoche. Also attending was another eminent politician from the Indian Himachal Pradesh state, bordering on the People's Republic of China, where the town Dharamsala is located, the "seat" of the Tibetan "Government in Exile." A brisk interchange takes place between Himachan Pradesh and the Chinese autonomous region of Tibet. Paula Dobriansky, the Undersecretary of State in the US State Department and special coordinator for Tibet questions also participated. She was a member of the National Security Council already in the Reagan Administration, continued her career in the State Department during the administration of President Bush Sr. and since 2001 was again in the US foreign ministry. Ms Drobriansky is considered to be one of the members of the neo-conservative inner circle in the Bush Administration and ranks as a hard-liner capable of imposing policy.

Every Day

As a Canadian journalist learned through his research, the campaign headquarters in Washington, that had been decided upon at the conference in Brussels, has been able to develop rather successful activities. Already at the beginning of August 2007, exactly one year before the opening of the Olympics, a close associate organized a high profile action at the tourist filled Great Wall to the north of Beijing. She maintains close contact to the Tibetan "Government in Exile".[7] Another close associate recently orchestrated the disturbance of the Olympic Torch Relay in Greece, seen on television around the world. The Washington headquarters is orchestrating other "protests" intended to disturb the Torch Relay. The campaign will reach its climax during the Olympic games in August. "We are determined to have non-violent direct action in the heart of Beijing, inside the Games, every day," one activist declared.[8]


The anti-Chinese Tibet campaign, initiated under the direction of a German Foreign Ministry front organization (Friedrich Naumann Foundation) and a high-ranking representative of the US State Department, is developing its full efficacy in the aftermath of the uprisings in West People's Republic of China that began only a few days before the start of the Torch Relay. Whereas the German media mainly reported on brutal attacks of the Chinese security forces, eye-witness accounts provide a different picture of what happened. The British journalist, James Miles ("The Economist"), who was in Lhasa from March 12 - 19, reports of pogrom-like attacks by Tibetan gangs on non-Tibetan members of the population of the city, among them the Muslim minority. According to Miles, the shops of Tibetan merchants were marked and left unscathed while all other shops were plundered, destroyed or set afire.[9] In one building alone five textile saleswomen were burned to death. Besides Miles, western tourists also described the attacks on non-Tibetans. One Canadian saw how a group of Tibetans beat a Chinese motorcyclist and proceeded to "mercilessly" stone him. "Eventually they got him on the ground, they were hitting him on the head with stones until he lost consciousness. I believe that young man was killed,'' reported the tourist.[10]


Whereas Miles was describing the reluctant reactions of the Chinese security forces in an interview broadcast over CNN, the German media is using the uprisings as a backdrop to represent brutal Chinese repression. Facts obviously play a subordinate role. In the meantime, television channels and daily journals have had to admit manipulations of pictures. Film sequences with Nepalese policemen beating demonstrators were sold as documentation of alleged Chinese police attacks.[11] The security forces' saving a boy from an attacking Tibetan mob was coarsely labeled a violent arrest. Even Miles' report was editorially presented in a context to focus on Chinese repression. For the purpose of comparison, documents excerpts of a CNN interview with the British journalist as well as the corresponding passage from a renowned German daily.[12] (Click here.)


The pogrom-like mob-violence not only created the necessary media profile for the current Tibet campaign, initiated with the help of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, it also permits an insight into the character of Tibetan separatism. The "prime minister" of the Tibetan "Exile Government," who had participated in the formulation of the plan of action at the May 2007 Tibet Conference in Brussels, had already at the end of the 1990s, expounded in the German media on his views of the future of non-Tibetans, who had immigrated to Tibet over the past 50 years. In the case of a successful secession, they will have to "return to China, or if they would like to remain, be treated as foreigners." He explained the planned measures: "they will, in any case, not be allowed to participate in the political life."[13] The prospect of discrimination against all non-Tibetan members of the population was anticipated in mid-March by mobs in their bloody attacks on Chinese and members of the Muslim minority.

Please read also Strategies of Attrition (I), Strategies of Attrition (II), Strategies of Attrition (III), Strategies of Attrition (IV) and The Olympic Lever.

[1] Doug Saunders: How three Canadians upstaged Beijing; Globe and Mail 29.03.2008. Die Konferenz wurde von der Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung in Zusammenarbeit mit der selbsternannten tibetischen Exilregierung und einem interfraktionellen Zusammenschluss des belgischen Parlaments durchgeführt.
[2] Die ersten vier "International Tibet Support Groups Conferences" fanden 1990 (Dharamsala), 1996 (Bonn), 2000 (Berlin) und 2003 (Prag) statt. Bereits die zweite Konferenz wurde von der Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung organisiert.
[3] Gerhardt kritisiert Belgien nach Absage des Dalai-Lama-Besuchs; 11.05.2007
[4] Brussels Tibet conference roadmap for peace in Tibet; 14.05.2007
[5] Valedictory Speech, International Tibet Support Groups Conference 5th, Dr. h.c. Rolf Berndt, Executive Director, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung fuer die Freiheit,Brussels, 14th May 2007
[6], [7}, [8] Doug Saunders: How three Canadians upstaged Beijing; Globe and Mail 29.03.2008
[9] Transcript: James Miles interview on Tibet; CNN 20.03.2008
[10] Chinese beaten mercilessly - tourists; Herald Sun 19.03.2008
[11] Fotos aus Tibet; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 24.03.2008
[12] see also Augenzeuge
[13] "99 Prozent der Tibeter vertrauen in Seine Heiligkeit"; Berliner Zeitung 20.10.1997. Ähnlich hat sich erst kürzlich der Dalai Lama geäußert. "Alle Chinesen, die Tibetisch sprechen und die tibetische Kultur respektieren, können bleiben", sagte er einer deutschen Zeitung - mit einer Einschränkung: "sofern es nicht zu viele sind". "China mischt sich auch in Deutschlands Angelegenheiten ein"; Süddeutsche Zeitung 21.09.2007