Press release, 24 June 2015
The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark, on 15 June 2015 summoned the Copenhagen Police for violating freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate of Tibet activists during the state visit to Denmark of former Chinese President Hu Jintao three years ago.
During the state visit on 15 June 2012, the police denied us permission to demonstrate in a place where we could be seen or heard by the Chinese President. The demonstration that we had planned in front of the Danish Parliament building, Christiansborg, which is also the seat of the Danish Government, was moved to a square 300 meters away. In the evening at 8 p.m., shortly before Hu's arrival at a state dinner at Christiansborg, the police placed four police vans in front of our small demonstration and told us to turn off our music.
In their writ against the police, two board members of the committee claim that Copenhagen Police thereby violated their rights according to articles 77 and 79 of the Danish Constitution and articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Through this court case, we wish to ensure that the Danish authorities in the future respect the very same principles that the Danish government has often criticized the Chinese authorities for violating.
In at least eleven separate cases, Danish policemen prevented activists from displaying Tibetan flags in different locations along Hu's sightseeing route in Copenhagen. The police seized four flags, detained seven activists, threatened six of them with arrest and used physical force in at least five cases before turning all of the activists away although they were peaceful and stood quietly in public spaces together with other onlookers.
Six of these latter cases have already been tried in the Copenhagen City Court that, on 18 February 2014, determined that the police had illegally detained one activist and thereby violated his Human Rights. The police won the five other cases which were all concerned with the limited formal question of illegal detention. All six cases have been appealed to the High Court and will be dealt with on 14-15 September 2015.
The systematic pattern of policemen targeting people with Tibetan flags during the state visit indicate to us that the operations were purposive and coordinated and that this was due to a decision taken centrally and possibly on a government level. Through access to files from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have learned that the Chinese Embassy in Denmark warned ministry officials about the "danger" of Tibet activists. This happened during the meeting where the Chinese announced that the Hu had accepted the invitation to visit Denmark.
In April 2009 the Danish prime minister met the Dalai Lama and after half a year of Chinese sanctions and pressure, the Danish government on 9 December issued a humiliating "verbal note" which recognised Tibet as "an integral part of China" and stated that Denmark "opposes the independence of Tibet" and "is fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and attaches great importance to the view of the Chinese government on these issues".
Before the state visit, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service had told the Copenhagen Police during a briefing that Chinese don't want to "loose face" and that they were not used to people expressing themselves like in Denmark. However, the Copenhagen Police has consistently denied any planned actions against Tibetan flags.
Anders Højmark Andersen
The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark