Tibet team to visit Britain

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The Independent Online
China is sending a high-level delegation from Tibet to London next week as part of an international propaganda offensive timed to coincide with the Hollywood film Seven Years in Tibet, which describes Tibet as an independent country.

The Foreign Office appears to be insisting that any programme it organises must include meetings with Tibet human rights lobby groups and a group of parliamentarians who support the Dalai Lama.

"We do have concerns about human rights in Tibet," said a Foreign Office spokesman. "So we would see this as an opportunity for us to express our concern directly to Raidi."

Raidi - he just has this one name - is the deputy Communist Party secretary in Tibet, and the highest ranking Tibetan within the Chinese-run system. He will head the seven-person delegation to Britain, all but two of whom are ethnic Tibetans.

The visit, from 3-5 December, will be the first official delegation from inside Tibet since 1948. Two years later, China invaded Tibet, eventually forcing the Dalai Lama to flee in 1959.