Three former Ministers of Justice testify for the Danish Tibet Commission
Press statement, 26 January 2017
Tomorrow, Friday 27 January, three former Ministers of Justice will be interviewed by the Danish Tibet Commission. Nearly 50 leading police officers and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Prime Minister's Office have already been summoned to and answered questions in the Tibet Commission over the last three months, including three former Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
Consisting of four senior jurists and judges, the Commission was formed by the Minister of Justice in December 2015 with the purpose of investigating why leading police officers in Copenhagen issued orders to shield then President Hu Jintao from seeing or hearing demonstrations during his state visit to Denmark in June 14-16, 2012, and during a visit one year later by the leader of CPPCC, Yu Zhengsheng. These orders violated the Danish Constitution which allows for freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations.
During Hu's state visit, a demonstration by Tibet and Falun Gong activists was hidden behind police vehicles and a number of individuals carrying Tibetan flags were detained or expelled when they were close to Hu's route in the Danish capital. This also happened in June 2013.
So far the public hearings of the Commission have not produced any concrete and conclusive evidence of such police orders originating from outside of Copenhagen Police itself but it has exposed a consistent attempt by the Chinese authorities to persuade the Danish government to keep protests out of sight and hearing range of the President.
In the beginning of the planning of the state visit, the Chinese ambassador and visiting officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Tibet activists were "dangerous" and therefore posed a threat to security. However, as the visit drew closer, the arguments from Chinese Embassy officials changed and they now increasingly suggested that they were mainly concerned about threats to Hu's honour and dignity.
Alongside the Tibet Commission, the Independent Police Complaints Authority has since October 2015 been investigating whether any police officers acted illegally during the Chinese visits. This has been their largest investigation ever and more than 400 police officers and activists have been interviewed.
Leading police officers have already admitted that the Legal Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament received wrong answers to their many questions about the police operations. As a result of their investigations, the Complaints Authority has also charged two senior police officers with lying in court.
Following the two Chinese visits in 2012 and 2013, the Tibet Support Committee, Denmark, has coordinated several court cases against Copenhagen Police for detaining Tibet activists and suppressing our freedom of speech and assembly. In February 2014, the Copenhagen City Court convicted Copenhagen Police of unlawful detention in one case and of violating Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This sentence was reaffirmed by the eastern High Court in September 2015.
In the Tibet Support Committee we view the illegal attempts by the police at hiding our demonstrations and taking away Tibetan flags as the result of a general 'kowtow' to China by the Danish authorities. In 2009 the Danish Government sent a socalled 'verbal note' to China which, for the first time, explicitly recognised Tibet as an integral part of the PRC. Since then, critique of China's deplorable Human Rights record in Tibet has been meager and the official attitude to China submissive. We hope that our lawsuits and the investigations by the Tibet Commission and the Police Complaints Authority will contribute to re-establishing Human Rights as a privilege that is not negotiable.
Anders Højmark Andersen
The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark