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British actress Joanna Lumley, peacefully campaigning for a free Tibet, is having a hard time getting heard.

Born in Kashmir, Lumley was deeply touched by the plight of Tibetans making the perilous journey across the mountains into India and meeting the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala when he spoke to the newly arrived refugees. Today, she’s a spokesperson for the Free Tibet movement.

“There are people in the most ghastly straits in that country,” said Lumley. “The suffering there is indescribably dreadful and it’s been going on for so long that we’ve deafened our ears. It’s called Tibet. If it was part of China, it would be called China.”

Lumley told The Guardian that while she was rallying for a Free Tibet in London, the press only followed the protesters who were chasing the Olympic torch.

“The truth is, peaceful protest hasn’t worked,” Lumley said in the interview. “It’s the people who did that [violence] who got into the papers. We didn’t. Our rally at the weekend was completely ignored… because they were looking for trouble; because protest is what gets in the paper.”

Students for a Free Tibet have used the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a unique opportunity to expose atrocities of Chinese rule in Tibet and are vehemently against allowing the Olympic torch being run through their country.

“People say, oh what a shame, the [protestors] have spoilt the running of the torch,” Lumley told the paper. “Well I’m sorry, hang the torch, it’s not an age-old tradition – it was only invented in 1936, wasn’t it? … Please don’t pretend that a couple of people running out with a bicycle is the most dangerous stuff that’s ever happened. …But if it hadn’t happened, Tibet again would have been ignored.”

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