Alanis, Stipe, Flea Write Gore About Human Rights

Feb. 6 [7:55 EST] -- Alanis Morissette, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers have all signed a letter sent on Tuesday to vice-president Al Gore, regarding his visit to China next month for a summit meeting.

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, Cypress Hill, Sheryl Crow, Tom Petty and Natalie Merchant also lent their signatures to the letter, which urges Gore to protest China's jailing of a young Tibetan musician named Ngawang Choephel.

The young prisoner is now serving 18 years for trying to make a film about the culture of Tibet, a nation that China has brutally occupied for 50 years.

So far, there's been no response to the letter from the White House.

Next Monday, Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan will join Stipe and Merchant in New York City, at a benefit for the cultural-preservation group Tibet House.

President Clinton will also attend the Chinese summit. In fact, during his fifth state of the union address Tuesday night, he said

he hoped China's president would also come here, because "engaging China is the best way to deal frankly with fundamental differences like human rights."