|BP Meeting & Day of Action on April 18!
|Tashi Delek -
Many thanks to everyone who leafleted, protested, and emailed BP during yesterdays Day of Action! BP definitely felt the heat, and the media coverage (see excerpts below) will help remind other corporations that trying to cash in on Chinas occupation of Tibet isnt worth the bad publicity.
In London, Tibet activists dressed as Chinese soldiers got into BPs Annual Meeting and applauded enthusiastically whenever BP mentioned China. SFT and Free Tibet Campaign grilled BP Chairman Peter Sutherland on BPs investment in PetroChina, who had the gall to claim that BP had no business in Tibet. Yeah, right. You can see a photo from BPs London AGM online at www.tibet.org/sft/bp_press.html
1. Dow Jones Newswire
Much of the three-hour AGM was occupied, if not disrupted, by a barrage of critical questioning from dissident shareholders who oppose specific BP activities in China and Colombia . Several activists, wearing faux Chinese military uniforms, renewed demands that BP divest its 2.2% equity stake in PetroChina Co . (PTR), which allegedly has commercial ties with the Sudanese government and natural-gas exploration interests in Tibet.
Sutherland denounced the dissidents and maintained that BP's interests in China and Colombia are entirely above board.
2. BP pressured by `pantomime' of protests The Independent
Protesters at the meeting accused the company of everything from complicity in murder and destroying the environment, to contributing to the oppression in Tibet.
BP's normally genial chairman, Peter Sutherland, an expert at charming opponents and politely batting away criticism, appeared to draw a line at the manifold and increasingly serious charges levelled at BP.
"This AGM on an annual basis is not going to be allowed to become a pantomime for the discussion of political issues that we on the board and you, most of the shareholders, are not concerned with," Mr Sutherland declared.
"This is a dangerous tactic. We are not a bunch of tree-hugging environmentalists. At the core of BP 11 per cent of investors agree with us that the company should be run differently," Mr Napier said.
The packed meeting at London's Royal Festival Hall dragged on for more than three hours with heated debate on a wide range of political and social issues, taking in Indonesia, Colombia, China, Tibet, Angola, Alaska and Sudan.
The event was attended by a group dressed in the uniform of the Chinese army and a contingent that had travelled from Colombia.
Update on future Chinese President Hu Jintaos visit to the USA
It now looks like Hu will be coming to New York BEFORE he goes to DC. Heres what we have so far:
April 26-27 Hawaii
April 28-29 New York City
April 30-May 1 Washington, DC May 2-3 San Francisco
Details will be on our website next week.
|3. Activists upset BP annual meeting Financial Times
Peter Sutherland,chairman of BP, should be used to hectoring at annual meetings, but he finally cracked yesterday under an onslaught from protestors.
As activists protesting about BP's activities in China, South America and Alaska demonstrated outside, shareholders inside London's Royal Festival Hall watched as Mr Sutherland engaged in a shouting match with a campaigner against BP's actions in Colombia.
Enraged by Mr Sutherland's perceived failure to answer his question on BP's use of a Colombian security firm with alleged links to paramilitary forces, the campaigner refused to back down. Standing in front of the podium, he pleaded his rights as a shareholder, demanding that Mr. Sutherland answer his question.
"Sit down please," Mr Sutherland barked back.
"Only if you answer my question," came the reply.
Mr Sutherland, who said everyone who had sat through the entire AGM deserved a medal, was not the only one left exasperated at the intensity of the protests.
One shareholder rose to make the observation that BP's AGM had turned into a "United Nations debate".
4. The Guardian BP under fire over pay deal
The company's record on the environment, its human rights policy with relation to Tibet and the sustainability of projects in Indonesia all were attacked. Mr Sutherland calmly deflected much of the aggressive questioning but angrily described allegations of BP's involvement in human rights abuses in Colombia as "outrageous". He went on to say that he would not let the AGM degenerate into a "pantomime for political issues."
5. The Daily Express Oil giant plays willing host to an extravaganza of global protest
They came from all over the world to confront the planet's second biggest oil company, BP. Colombian farmers and TIbetans in exile rubbed shoulders with dark suited City types and old ladies bearing plastic supermarket bags as shareholders gathered yesterday for the company's annual general meeting.
They were greeted outside London's Royal Festival Hall by protestors dressed as Chinese soldiers and a 15 foot high inflatable caribou. Beaming BP staff togged out in bright green and lemon yellow led investors to their seats.
Chairman Peter Sutherland and the rest of the BP Board took the stage. They knew they were going to be grilled on the company's investments in China and the country's involvement in Tibet.
|BACKGROUND INFO ON THE PROJECT:
For the first time, western corporations are involved in a major resource extraction project in Tibet. In 1999, BP Amoco purchased $560 million of stock in PetroChina when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, which covers the cost of the construction of a 953-km gas pipeline across the plateau. BP Amoco and ENI/Agip are both assisting the Chinese-state company PetroChina in its oil & gas exploitation in Tibet, aiding PetroChina in sending Tibet's precious resources to the high energy demands of Shanghai in Eastern China. This is a significant escalation of China's ongoing strategy of developing Tibet into a resource extraction colony. If allowed to continue, the projects will consolidate China's control over Tibet, and further marginalize Tibetans in their own land.
BP's investment in PetroChina is part of a larger effort by the Chinese government to quickly and carelessly develop Tibet. Building a pipeline through Tibet and exhausting its rich supply of oil and gas is just one facet of the "Go West!" development scheme. BP's involvement with PetroChina marks the first large-scale contribution of the Western world to aiding China's destruction of Tibet.
BP Amoco is both the largest foreign shareholder in PetroChina, and the top investor in the Chinese oil industry. Their PetroChina investment violates BP's own standards on human rights and social responsibility. Despite concerns raised by a broad coalition of interest groups, including labor, human rights, religious freedom, small business, anti-slavery, and Tibet, BP has flatly refused to address these issues with PetroChina. In December 2000, 54 organizations from 16 countries urged BP to either use its influence immediately or divest itself of PetroChina stock by January 15, 2001. Dr. Chris Gibson-Smith, Group Managing Director of BP, wrote the coalition back, noting that "neither request is practical or desirable."
A coalition of Tibet Support Groups filed a Special Resolution at last year's (2001) AGM, calling on BP to divest from PetroChina. The Resolution received the backing of shareholders who represent 627.5 million shares, with a market value of 3.8 billion pounds. This was a very strong showing, and should have sent a very strong message to BP that its shareholders expect BP to maintain its principles and divest from PetroChina. But in the year since the AGM, BP appears to have simply disregarded these shareholders' concerns with no tangible efforts made on behalf of its commitment to human rights.
Tibetans and supporters around the world are calling for BP to be held accountable for its investment in PetroChina, and to immediately divest itself from the company.
Please join us and raise your voice!
For more info, please see: www.ustibet.org
Thank you for your support of Tibet!
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