TIBETAN MAN AND THREE SUPPORTERS DETAINED AFTER BEIJING PROTEST – AUGUST 21, 2008
August 20, 2008 · Print This Article
INTENSIVE SURVEILLANCE FAILS TO PREVENT ACTION FOR TIBET
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 21, 2008
Contacts: In Asia, Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director, and Kate Woznow, Campaigns Director, +1 917 289 0219 or +44 20 7084 6245
**Bios and photos of the activists available at http://freetibet2008.org/globalactions/tibetanflag
Beijing – After intense surveillance by up to 50 plainclothes police, a Tibetan-German man and two pro-Tibet activists protested tonight near the Bird’s Nest stadium. The three raised their fists in the air, unfurled a Tibetan flag, and called out “Free Tibet” at approximately 12:05 am Beijing time. A fourth Tibet activist who observed the protest was detained by police at the scene. The four were taken away in a police vehicle and their whereabouts are unknown.
The four are Tibetan-German Florian Norbu Gyanatshang, 30, American Jeremy Wells, 38, American John Watterberg, 30, and Briton Mandie McKeown, 41.
“Against all odds, a Tibetan has once again raised our outlawed national flag in Beijing tonight,” said Lhadon Tethong, the Tibetan-Canadian Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “This action symbolises the determination and steadfast commitment of the Tibetan people and our supporters from around the world to achieve freedom and justice for six million Tibetans living under the brutal rule of the Chinese government.”
Tibetans and Tibet supporters have defied the best efforts of the Chinese authorities to silence all voices of dissent during the Olympic Games, staging eight protests in Beijing over the past two weeks. The protests have ranged from technically-challenging banner hangs to a dramatic “die-in” at Tiananmen Square. Surveillance efforts by Chinese authorities increased dramatically over the past few days.
“The Chinese government is petrified of these peaceful acts of defiance simply because they represent the true feelings of Tibetans inside Tibet,” said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “Our protests are a reminder to the world of the tragic reality of the Chinese government’s illegitimate occupation of Tibet and the urgent need for the Chinese leadership to seek a resolution with the Tibetan people.”
Five other members and supporters of Students for a Free Tibet were deported from Beijing today after unfurling a LED light banner last night; an artist and five bloggers and activists remain missing or in detention after 47 hours.
1) Students for a Free Tibet’s protests have included a dramatic banner hang near the Bird’s Nest Stadium; a display of Tibetan flags near the Bird’s Nest just before the opening ceremony began; a symbolic die-in at Tiananmen Square; a protest by a Tibetan woman with flags outside Tiananmen Square; a blockade of the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park; a “Free Tibet” banner hang outside the CCTV headquarters; and the unfurling of an LED light “throwie” banner outside the Bird’s Nest stadium. Forty-two members and supporters have been detained and deported, not including those detained today.
2) Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a network of young people and activists campaigning for Tibetan independence, with 700 chapters in more than thirty countries worldwide. SFT’s international headquarters are in New York, with offices in Toronto, London, and Dharamsala, India.