China Condemns Any Performer Who Supports Tibet

by David R. Parvo

In the first acknowledgement of the Tibetan Freedom benefit concerts, the government of China has condemned any artist who performs at the all-star rock benefit, ABC Radio Network reports. Artists who will be affected include Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and the Beastie Boys, among many others. The spokesperson for the Chinese government released a statement on 4/20/98 which reads as follows: "Western artists have no right to intervene in the internal affairs of our country...any of those performers will not be permitted entry to China, including Tibet, and their works will never be welcome in our country." This is China's first official reaction to the concerts. In response to this rare state of publicized agitation, the Milarepa Fund, who organizes the concert, said that "the banning of the artists performing at the Tibetan Freedom Concert demonstrates the Chinese government's intolerance for the most basic of human rights." Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, was not surprised, for "there is certainly a very repressive element in that regime that have been inhibiting freedom of expression there...they (now) realize that culture and politics are inextricably linked.

It seems as if we have to worry about foreign governments trying to repress our freedom of expression, not only our own. It is bad enough when the U.S. government attempts to violate our rights, but when a foreign government begins to take actions with no reaction from our government whatsoever, it is really a cause for fear. A positive lesson from this incident can be drawn, however. It shows how influential an organized group of people, fighting for what they believe in, can accomplish. If the Milarepa Fund can cause the Chinese government to react like this, imagine what we could do to fight the oppressive policies of our own government? The success of the Milarepa Fund and the Tibetan Freedom Concert should serve as an example for all of us who care about our right to freely express ourselves.

To show your support for the Milarepa Fund and to voice your disproval of the policies of the Chinese government, please use the contacts provided below:

Milarepa Fund:
email address:
phone number: 888-MILAREPA
The Milarepa Fund
1230 Market Street #11
San Francisco, CA 94102

Chinese U.S. Embassy
2300 Connecticut ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
phone: 202-328-2500
fax: 202-588-0032
Ambassador: Mr. Li Zhaoxing

Rage Against the Machine

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