Group claims activists held in China after free Tibet protests

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freshly unfurled banner on a light-pole directly outside Beijing National Stadium (the "Bird's Nest")
Image: Students for a Free Tibet.

The non-profit student-led organization Students for a Free Tibet, which seeks to make Tibet a separate country from China, has claimed that some of its activists have been detained in Beijing after protesting near an Olympic stadium, holding banners such as "One World, One Dream: Free Tibet" and "Tibet Will Be Free."

The British Embassy in Beijing is investigating these reports, which involved two Britons and two Americans. A British Embassy spokesman said that they "are in touch with the Chinese authorities and are requesting immediate consular access should this information be correct."

Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet, made a statement after the alleged action: "At this very moment, Tibetans are facing the most severe and violent repression they have seen in decades at the hands of the Chinese government, and we have taken nonviolent action at this critical time to draw the world’s attention to the crisis gripping Tibet."

"Days before the Olympic Games begin, and as all eyes turn to China, we appeal to the world to remember that millions of Tibetans are crying out for human rights and freedom," said the Deputy Director of the protest group. "As the Chinese leadership prepares its display of grandeur and power in Beijing, trying to convince the world of its new tolerance and openness, it is waging a ruthless campaign of repression inside Tibet."

The American protestors have been named as Phill Bartell from New Jersey and Tirian Mink from Oregon. The British protesters have been named as Iain Thom and Lucy Fairbrother.