Urge China to begin dialogue with Dalai Lama over Tibet

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Photograph: Rick Rycroft/AP

After decades of repression under Chinese rule, the Tibetan people's  frustrations have burst onto the streets in protests and riots. With the  spotlight of the upcoming Olympic Games now on China, Tibetans are crying out to  the world for change.

The Chinese government has said that the protesters  who have not yet surrendered "will be punished". Its leaders are right now  considering a crucial choice between escalating brutality or dialogue that could  determine the future of Tibet, and China.

I'm not at all sure if it's possible to affect this historic choice. But I'm pretty sure that like any country China cares about its international  reputation. And anyway even if it doesn't have an impact China's President Hu Jintao needs to hear that the 'Made in China'  brand and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing can succeed only if he makes the  right choice.

Avaaz.org the global internet advocacy portal is trying to mobilise an avalanche of global people power to get President Hu's attenion.

In response to the Dalai Lama's call for restraint and dialogue Avaaz is calling for people around the world to support the Dalai Lama by signing its petition to President Hu urging him to "show restraint and respect for human rights in your response to the protests in Tibet, and to address the concerns of all Tibetans by opening meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama."

Along with over half a million people at the time of writing, I've signed the petition and I hope that if you might consider doing so too. And if you do you'll be invited to share it with your friends, which will help even more.

I hope that President Hu will recognize that the greatest danger to Chinese stability and  development comes from hardliners who advocate escalating repression, not from  Tibetans who seek dialogue and reform.

If it reaches the million mark Avaaz is committed to deliver the petition directly to Chinese officials in London, New York, and  Beijing.

The Tibetan people have suffered quietly for decades. It is finally their moment  to speak and I hope we can help them be heard.

For more information: 

International Campaign for a Free Tibet 

Students for a Free Tibet