May 30, 2008

Supporters of the Burma Campaign UK who have written to the Chinese Embassy in London calling on China to support moves for the Security Council to authorise aid to cyclone victims are being told that their requests are ‘junk mail’.

More than 2,000 people have emailed the embassy in London. The email sends condolences following the Sichuan earthquake, notes the stark contrast between the responses of the Chinese and Burmese authorities, and asks China to stop blocking efforts at the United Nations Security Council to authorise aid deliveries under the doctrine of ‘Responsibility to Protect’. China has blocked the Security Council even discussing the current crisis in Burma.

“The Chinese government thinks calls to saves the lives of cyclone victims are junk mail,” said Mark Farmaner. “Once again they are protecting the dictatorship in Burma, and this time they are helping them kill thousands of people by denying them aid. To dismiss these requests as junk mail is not exactly a sophisticated response to a serious issue.”

Despite Than Shwe, the dictator of Burma, telling UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that aid workers would be allowed into the country, access to the delta region is still restricted. The Burma Campaign UK has received reports from aid agencies in the UK that they have still had visas refused by the embassy in London, and sources in Burma report that some Burmese people trying to deliver aid are also being turned back. The regime is also refusing to allow in foreign military with the helicopters and boats needed to deliver aid, further delaying aid reaching those in need.

“China has blood on its hands by stopping international action to deliver aid” said Mark Farmaner. “Thousands will have died because aid didn’t reach them. How can they say calling for lives to be saved is junk mail?”

For more information contact Mark Farmaner on 020 7324 4710.

Text of email sent by Burma Campaign UK supporters:
‘We send you our deepest condolences for the recent terrible loss of life in China following the devastating earthquake. This tragedy follows the recent devastation and tragic loss of life caused by Cyclone Nargis in neighbouring Burma. However, the response to the two natural disasters could not be more different. Your government responded without delay, dispatching 50,000 troops to help, and Premier Wen Jiabao immediately flying to the disaster area. In contrast, the Burmese regime has not only failed to deliver aid to the people in desperate need, it has blocked international efforts to help deliver aid and the expertise needed in such a crisis. I am concerned that China is not doing all it can to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis.  Over 1.5 million people are at risk from disease, starvation and famine because of Cyclone Nargis, yet Burma’s Generals refuse to let the world help. Every delay is unacceptable; if aid does not reach those in need urgently, the death toll could rise by thousands every day.  Your government has the power to make the generals listen. By blocking UN Security Council action your government is condemning thousands of innocent Burmese people to death. China has a responsibility to the world, and the Burmese people, to immediately back the world’s efforts to help the people of Burma.’

Text of response from Chinese Embassy in London:
‘There are over 68,000 died in this earthquake and 21,000 more still missing. Millions of people are at risk from disease, starvation and famine due to Sichuan earthquake.Our task is daunting.  Do you think it is appropriate to ask us to dictate other government? pls stop sending this kind of junk mail.’


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