Chief Operating Officer
Liverpool Football Club
25 September 2017
Dear Mr Hughes,
We are following up on the letter we sent to you on 2 August 2017 concerning the recent sponsorship deal Liverpool Football Club has entered into with Tibet Water Resources Ltd (TWRL), to which we have as yet not had a response. As we raised in our previous letter, we are seriously concerned about Liverpool FC’s deal with TWRL; a company which is only able to commercially exploit Tibet’s resources due to the sustained and highly repressive rule over Tibet by China.
We remain open to arranging a meeting with you, Mr Henry or any of the Directors, to be able to fully discuss our concerns, which include to what extent due diligence has been carried out by Liverpool FC in advance of signing the commercial contract with TWRL.
As stated in our previous letter, while we understand the Club’s desire to grow its China market, given the Premiership’s growing fan base in Asia, we also are keen to emphasise the global support for Tibet. The six decade long occupation of Tibet has led to dire circumstances that renowned human rights organisations class to be among the most severe in the world1, and it is as a result of this occupation that companies such as TWRL are able to operate in the country and exploit its resources, without the consent of the Tibetan people.
China’s repressive policies and a severe and worsening security crackdown have created a crisis in occupied-Tibet. Since 2008 there has been a surge in protests by Tibetans in Tibet with demonstrators calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. China’s response to such protests has been brutal, with reports of armed police attacking and beating demonstrators and, in a number of cases, opening fire, killing peaceful protesters and seriously injuring many more. A wave of self-immolations by Tibetan monks, nuns and laypeople has seen at least 150 confirmed self-immolation protests by Tibetans in Tibet. More than 100 of the protesters have died.
In late July we started receiving messages of concern from Liverpool FC supporters, many of whom flagged China’s human rights track record in Tibet, and the reputation damage that the TWRL deal risks causing to their team, and we are aware that a growing number of these supporters have appealed directly to the club to raise their concerns.
We would also like to restate that we are aware of the respect accorded to Liverpool FC, both within the UK and the rest of the world, and as groups dedicated to the protection of human rights and best business practice we applaud the club’s strong commitment to human rights2.
We would also like to take this opportunity to renew our request for a meeting with you and other members of Liverpool FC’s board of directors at a time and place of your choosing in order to discuss the human rights situation in Tibet and to outline why Tibetans, Tibet supporters and LFC fans are now urging the club to terminate its relationship with TWRL.You can respond to us by contacting Tibet Society’s Head of Advocacy, Gloria Montgomery on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you once again for your consideration of this important matter.
1 Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2017, available at: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2017/tibet; Amnesty International, Annual report 2016/2017 – The State of the World’s Human Rights (Index: MDE 29/5470/2016), available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2017/02/amnesty-international-annual-report-201617/; Human Rights Watch, World Report 2017 – China and Tibet, 12 January 2017, available at: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/china-and-tibet.
2 Liverpool Football Club, Liverpool Football Club and Athletic Grounds Limited Anti-Slavery and Anti-Trafficking Statement, 30 November 2016, available at: http://www.liverpoolfc.com/corporate/anti-slavery