It is vital that the international community asks why Beijing will not allow foreign journalists free access to Tibet in the run up to and during the 2008 Olympics? What is Beijing hiding in Tibet?

In the run up to the 2008 Olympics, the international press will be free to report from 'all over China': but not in Tibet or neighbouring Xinjiang. So is this a surprise? Sadly not. To bag the Olympics Beijing promised there would be press freedom 'all over China'. The gullible International Olympic Committee believed them but, for many, the outcome was never in doubt. The Olympic press freedoms will never apply in Tibet - unless we take action now.

An atmosphere of repression and censorship continues to surround the media and free-flow of information in China. Local Chinese journalists remain under constant threat. Even the global cyber players caved in. Try googling in China for Taiwan, Tiananmen or Tibet.

The opportunity that the Olympics brings to foreign journalists to interview individuals freely all over China has been denied in Tibet. Again the Tibetans have been betrayed with another promise broken in the full sight of the international community. Why does Beijing want to hide Tibet from the world? And why does the world turn a blind eye?

Our job is to make the truth heard - to tell the world what Beijing is hiding in Tibet. We have to keep Tibet in the media. We can do this with more resources and funds: but we need your help urgently.

What would foreign journalists hear if they were allowed to travel and interview freely in Tibet? They would sense the palpable climate of fear in which Tibetans live. They would witness the dead hand of the occupation with its pernicious tentacles, worming into every part of Tibetan life. They would understand the resentment and despair many Tibetans feel as their Tibet slowly disappears. They would hear the hostile invective directed towards Tibetans' revered leader, the Dalai Lama.

They would hear how political prisoners endure years of sustained torture in the prisons. Barbaric practices are used on those as young as 13 years old, such as electric charges on sensitive body parts, beatings with pipes, canes and thick leather belts with heavy metal buckles. This continues today: a recent UN report concluded torture remains 'widespread' in Tibet and China.

They would learn about Beijing's sustained attack on Buddhism, which is the wellspring of Tibetans' identity. Officially, Beijing says that Tibetans are free to practise their religion. But on the ground, talking freely to individuals, foreign journalists would see the lie to this as Beijing maintains a sustained attack on Buddhism by imposing control and conditions on religion.

The new hardline Party Secretary, Zhang Qingli, has intensified 'patriotic education' in the monasteries with all the monks being pressured to denounce the Dalai Lama. Spy monks are infiltrated into the religious centres so that 'with two informers at the Monastery, it's difficult to talk freely'. Monasteries that get too big are simply cut down to size.

These, and many other aspects of Tibetan life, are what Beijing wants to hide. Clearly, its wish to hide the brutal realities of its occupation of Tibet overrides their binding agreements with the International Olympic Committee.

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