(London) – On 24 July, Liverpool FC entered into an agreement with a Chinese company involved in resource exploitation in Tibet. Now Tibet Society, the world’s oldest Tibet support group, is calling on the premier club to cancel the agreement and instead work to improve conditions in Tibet.
As a club that has championed its commitment to respect human rights and ethnical business standards, it is deeply regrettable that Liverpool FC has signed a deal with Tibet Water Resources Limited.
“If Liverpool FC wants to entrench its human rights commitment across the club’s operations, it must begin by terminating its agreement with Tibet Water Resources Limited. Such a partnership undermines the very values that the club promotes,” said Norman Baker, President of the Tibet Society.
Despite its name, Tibet Water Resources Limited is a Chinese company that bottles and sells water from Tibet; a country that has been under military occupation for over six decades since the Chinese army invaded in 1950.
Tibet has been ranked as the second worst place in the world in terms of civil liberties and political rights, second only to Syria. Meanwhile calls for accountability ring hollow as the UK government continues to have its requests refused for human rights monitoring visits to the country.
Given Tibet is abundant in water and the headwater of seven main rivers that run through the region, it is not hard to see why the exploitation of Tibet’s resources is high on China’s agenda or how the over-use of these could have a major impact on the wider region’s water security.
In the past three decades, glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have already shrunk 15% and massive Chinese hydropower dams and water diversion projects in Tibet are diverting, draining and damaging its rivers. Water bottling companies like Tibet Water Resources Limited are contributing to this process, and operate within a system of Chinese oppression.
“By terminating this agreement, Liverpool FC has an opportunity to send a clear message that it does not tolerate dealing with companies that profit from occupation and environmental destruction and to make a real difference to the lives of Tibetans who have endured decades of injustice, indignity and discrimination,” said Norman Baker.
Maintaining this partnership will only will serve to reward and lend legitimacy to China’s occupation of the territory, its crackdown on human rights and the exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources by Chinese companies.
Liverpool FC begins the 2017-2018 Premier League with an away game in Watford this Saturday, 12 August.
In order to mark this occasion, Tibet Society, in collaboration with a range of other Tibetan groups (including Free Tibet, the International Tibet Network and the Tibetan Community in Britain) will be handing out leaflets outside Watford stadium to raise awareness about the recent partnership and to send a clear message that own goals should be avoided in the boardroom, as well as on the pitch.
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