SAN FRANCISCO -- Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu said Tuesday he supported international protests surrounding the Olympic torch and urged world leaders to boycott the games' opening ceremony in Beijing over China's human rights record.
The retired Anglican archbishop from South Africa also called on China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is seeking autonomy for Tibet.
Tutu praised protesters who have put themselves on the line in Paris, San Francisco and elsewhere to protest last month's crackdown in Tibet, which claimed as many as 140 lives.
In particular, he applauded three climbers who hung pro-Tibet banners Monday from the Golden Gate Bridge.
"I salute them," he said.
Tutu was in San Francisco to receive the Outspoken Award from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for his work on behalf of gay and lesbian rights.
The group praised Tutu for challenging homophobia within the Anglican Church, which has been sharply divided over the acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy.
Tibetan independence supporter Xiao Tan, right, and his girlfriend Miao-Chih Tsai, battle with pro-Comminist China supporters to keep the "banned in TIbet" Tibetan National flag along the start of the Olympic torch relay in San Francisco.
Friday, April 18, 2008
After decades of repression, Tibetans are crying out to the world for change. China's leaders are right now making a crucial choice between escalating repression or dialogue that could determine the future of Tibet, and China.
We can affect this historic choice -- China does care about its international reputation. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get the government's attention. The Dalai Lama has called for restraint and dialogue: he needs the world's people to support him. Sign the petition below--It has been delivered at Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide, and will continue to grow and be delivered until talks begin.
CLICK HERE to sign an online petion to the Chinese President Hu Jintao
As citizens around the world, we call on you 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. Only dialogue and reform will bring lasting stability. China's brightest future, and its most positive relationship with the world, lies in harmonious development, dialogue and respect.