Prayer flags in Leh, India. [Photo] Roberta Locatelli / Courtesy of www.planetmountain.com
Editor’s Note: In a press release earlier this week, the Groupe de Haute Montagne (GHM) condemned China’s carrying the Olympic torch to the top of Everest, affirming that the recent worldwide reflection on human rights has permeated the climbing community, perhaps to the point at which the direct nuisances created by the relay–limitations on climbing permits and communications–seem negligible. (Read the March 19 and April 9, 2008 NewsWires for more information about the restrictions imposed by China and Nepal.) What follows is a translation of the GHM press release.
NOT Holders of the Olympic Flame to Everest
As representatives of GHM, we declare our commitment to an alpinism that carries meaning, lofty ambitions and humanist values, foremost the respect of human rights and indigenous peoples.
We are opposed resolutely to any ascent, anywhere in the world, in which the spirit, the political or commercial reasons, or the conditions of conduct are contrary to these ethical principles.
– Because of the grave political troubles that have affected Tibet since China’s annexation of that land in 1959;
– Because of the popular uprisings that have recently taken place there;
– And because of the bloody suppression currently exercised by the Chinese military authorities on the demonstrators
We believe that the project of the People’s Republic of China to raise the Olympic torch at the top of Everest is particularly inappropriate, especially offensive to the Tibetan people and inherently degrading to the Himalayan climbing in general and in particular Everest.
Accordingly, we call upon all our fellow amateur alpinists and guides, lovers of all countries not to participate in any way to support the realization of this project.
On behalf of a real ethics of alpinism, which cannot accommodate such compromises, we also call on the national and international mountain organizations, professional unions and the national UIAGM, as well as all national alpine clubs, to declare themselves officially opposed and not to collaborate in any way.