Tibetans Applaud Cancellation of Nobel Peace Summit in South Africa and Welcome Relocation of Venue

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Nobel Peace Summit cancelled as six Nobel Laureates boycott after host country denies a visa to the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan National Congress suggests Rome as an alternate venue.

"While the current Summit should be held in a freely-accessible city like Rome, we strongly support holding a future Summit in Cape Town, once the South African government puts the interests of its own people before the interests of the Beijing regime"

The 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town has been cancelled as a result of six Nobel laureates' courageous stand to boycott the Summit, after the South African government succumbed to pressure from China to deny a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan National Congress (TNC), an independent Tibetan political party, extended its deepest gratitude to the laureates. "This is a major victory for justice and for peace,” TNC President Jigme Ugen stated. "We thank these esteemed Nobel laureates for standing on the side of justice, and for standing up to the Chinese government, the only regime in the world currently imprisoning a Nobel Peace Laureate."

TNC also thanked the over 10,000 people who signed its petition launched in early September, respectfully urging the Nobel laureates to boycott the Summit and relocate to a venue where a government will not censor which voices get heard. Signatories supporting this call to "boycott or relocate" included prominent political leaders from six countries, dissidents, lawyers, and musicians and artists from across the world. This petition campaign was supported by the International Tibet Network and Students for a Free Tibet, and led to a groundswell of grassroots support.

On September 24, TNC was contacted by the executive director of the F.W. de Klerk Foundation, one of the Summit organizers in South Africa, who wrote that TNC's campaign "may lead to the cancellation of the Summit." TNC engaged in a public dialogue with the de Klerk Foundation and expressed its belief that the relocation of the Summit would demonstrate that Beijing and its allies cannot dictate the terms of a Nobel meeting. In a press release distributed globally by PR Newswire that same day, TNC asserted that the Summit must be relocated to an alternate venue to avoid the irreparable taint of accepting censorship by the Chinese government.

“The action of the Nobel laureates, in boycotting and relocating the Summit, is a testament to the strength of the universal ideals of freedom for which His Holiness the Dalai Lama stands, and of the power of collective action to successfully resist the bullying tactics of the Chinese government," added Ugen.

The Summit organizers must now announce where the gathering will be relocated. On September 30, TNC wrote to the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to suggest Rome as an appropriate alternate venue. TNC's letter noted that the Secretariat is based in Rome where eight prior Nobel Summits have been hosted to date.

"While the current Summit should be held in a freely-accessible city like Rome, we strongly support holding a future Summit in Cape Town, once the South African government puts the interests of its own people before the interests of the Beijing regime," said Ugen.

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Jigme Ugen
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