A new petition from SumOfUs, an international consumer advocacy organization with nearly 1 million members in the United Kingdom, is calling on Liverpool FC to immediately sever ties with Tibet Water Resources Limited (Tibet Water) over the company’s exploitations of Tibet’s water resources, facilitated by a brutal Chinese military occupation of the country. SumOfUs warns that Liverpool FC’s partnership with Tibet Water helps normalize the brutal occupation of Tibet, and is wholly unacceptable.
The deal, signed on 24 July, makes Tibet Water Liverpool FC’s official regional water partner in China and offers the company a range of promotional and marketing rights. Reports about the deal state that Liverpool FC, one of the world’s biggest football clubs with a growing Asian fan base, will also offer Tibet Water social media support and access to current players and legendary players from the club’s history.
SumOfUs’ petition is part of a larger campaign calling on Liverpool FC’s owner, John W. Henry, to terminate the deal with Tibet Water due to ethical concerns over dealing with a company operating in occupied Tibet, the scene of some of the worst and longest-running human rights abuses in the world. Other organizations, including Free Tibet and Tibet Society have written to Liverpool FC’s owner and directors to alert them to the serious situation in Tibet and how their deal with Tibet Water is harmful to both Tibetans and Liverpool FC’s reputation. Over the course of a week, more than 27,000 people have added their support by signing the SumOfUs petition.
Hanna Thomas, Campaign and Culture Director at Sum Of Us, explained:
Tibet Water owes its profits to the repression, torture and denial of basic political freedoms meted out by the Chinese military occupation of Tibet. Liverpool FC is normalising this brutal regime — lending it an air of legitimacy through its deal with Tibet Water. The club should be using its enormous power and wealth to promote basic freedoms and rights across the world, not help deny them.
John Jones, Campaigns and Communications Manager at Free Tibet added:
Within a week, tens of thousands of people have registered their disappointment with Liverpool FC’s dangerous deal. They include Tibetans fearful for their country’s future and Liverpool FC fans concerned about the decisions being taken on behalf of their club. By terminating this deal, Liverpool FC’s ownership and directors would be able to demonstrate to both these groups that the club’s commitment to human rights and ethical conduct is founded on action, not just words. This is an opportunity for them to show that Liverpool FC unconditionally rejects any association with human rights abuses.
Gloria Montgomery, Head of Advocacy at Tibet Society, said:
The global response to our campaign shows that when it comes to human rights violations, companies like Liverpool FC and Tibet Water cannot expect business as usual. With so many people now watching, Liverpool FC‘s directors must decide on which side they stand. Either they follow the growing trend of businesses and brands which respect human rights or they choose to join those who put profits first, by legitimising the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the abuses that help prop it up.