This afternoon eight SFTers, including Pema Yoko a national coordinator of SFT UK, conducted a dramatic multi-part nonviolent direct action at the entrance to the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park. A group of protesters locked down at the entrance of the park by chaining bicycles together and holding a banner that said “Tibetans are dying for freedom.” Two others went to a foot bridge and held a banner reading “Free Tibet.”
Chinese security came out in force and there’s been a fair amount of coverage of them swarming over our activists and taking down the banners. I have to say, I got a big kick out of the sight of a Chinese police raising a Tibetan flag on TV.
What was less enjoyable was watching footage of Chinese security forces forcibly detain a British journalist covering the protest. After being detained, ITV News journalist John Ray was asked about his views about Tibet:
Police swung him on to a couch and pinned him down by sitting on his arms. When they relaxed, he tried to get away but was tripped up. He was then bundled into a police van and asked him what his views on Tibet were.
No matter how many times the IOC and BOCOG promised that the Chinese authorities would grant Olympic journalists freedom and access, you always knew that something like this was possible and the intensity of the Chinese police aggression belies every single word uttered by Jacques Rogge in the years leading up to the Games.
The Chinese government has not been changed one iota by the Olympics. Yet everywhere you look, you can see how the Beijing government has brought their style of brutal occupation and militaristic policing to the Olympics. Watching the Chinese police beat and harass activists and journalists today with the whole world as their guests in Beijing makes me truly fearful for what they will do and are now doing in Tibet, behind closed doors and with no foreign journalists there to watch.