Britain has a fine history of upholding the democratic values of our fine country. It must do once again as it negotiates business and trade ties with Beijing
When it comes to its dealings with China, the UK is at a critical juncture. Following the Brexit vote, the debate on Chinese investment in Britain, and unfavourable media coverage of President Xi Jinping’s lavish reception last year, the challenge for the British leadership now is to develop a new strategic engagement with Beijing. It is vital in doing so that the UK stands its ground, alongside other like-minded governments, and promotes an approach that balances its business, trade and diplomatic interests with a respect for the rights of the Chinese and Tibetan people. It must hold fast to its commitment to upholding the democratic values that shape the spirit of this great country.
I have recently been elected to serve a second term as the sikyong, or political leader, of the Central Tibetan Administration, based in exile in India. Our democracy, which is a source of great pride among Tibetans everywhere, was a culmination of the vision and actions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – who has emphasised the importance of democracy and education since his escape from Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1959.
Failing to stand up to China only endorses its efforts to impose an unati-democratic narrative on the rest of the world