Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

A A A

Last week Joanna Lumley hosted a Tibet fundraising evening. Last year she generously held it at her house and the atmosphere was so good we all stayed longer than expected. Maybe this is why this year it was held at the very atmospheric crypt at the Royal Society of Arts in Covent Garden.

The Chinese desecration of Tibet is so sad one wants to bury one's head in despair, but this won't make the issue go away.

Tibet was the size of Western Europe when it was invaded by China in 1950 and since then the country's culture, religion, human rights and resources have been under systematic assault.

Six thousand Buddhist monasteries have been destroyed, along with the centuries of knowledge they contained, while hundreds of thousands of Tibetans have been executed, imprisoned and tortured. And yet the world does nothing.

During the evening we heard a first-hand experience from Phuntsog Nyidrol, a nun who described the nine years of torture she underwent for continuing to practise her religion and support the Dalai Lama. She was one of thousands of Tibetans who are regularly imprisoned without trial indefinitely.

The Chinese think nothing of the barbaric practices of sticking moon bears in tiny cages to extract their bile or of factory-farming tigers. There are those in China whose idea of a top dining experience is to scalp live monkeys and eat their brains, so we can only hope the attention the country receives during next year's Olympics changes attitudes to people and animals for the better.

China is inflicting a raft of destructive environmental policies on Tibet. Birds have vanished through destruction of their habitat or have been slaughtered by hunting for sport and to furbish China's illicit trade in wildlife products.

This unrestricted hunting of wildlife is causing the irrevocable loss of countless Tibetan species even before they have been discovered and studied.

China continues to flood Tibet with destructive mega-developmental projects such as railway routes, oil and gas pipelines, petrochemical complexes, hydro-dams, airports, motorways, military bases and new cities for migrants from mainland China. This is leading to slope destabilisation, land degradation, and hazards to human health and life.

With all this going on, it beggared belief that Michael Palin visited Tibet for his recent Himalaya series and bounced cheerfully about the place, "interviewing" Tibetans who raved about how fabulous life was under Chinese rule. What a fatuous piece of programming that was.

Thank goodness, then, for celebrities such as Joanna Lumley who use their fame to promote awareness of these iniquities. While so many celebrities fail to use their fame and simply bemoan the miseries of being in the public eye, she deflects the spotlight of publicity to the cruelties perpetuated in the shadows beyond the public's gaze.

www.studentsforafreetibet.org

www.tibet-house-trust.co.uk

j.stephenson@independent.co.uk

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine