UPDATE 8/8 12pm Eastern: We’ve received a quick call from Lhadon saying that she, Paul, and the “Great Wall 6″ were being put on a plane to Hong Kong. We have no official word at this point. As this is Lhadon’s blog, we hope the next post up here will be from her, somewhere safe and sound. Stay tuned.
SFT staff: We recorded this video from a live skype videoconference with Paul and Lhadon at an Internet cafe about a day ago. They thought at the time they were going to be picked up by one of the thirty “minders” (aka plain clothes security agents) outside. They were able to return Tuesday evening to their hotel without incident.
Unfortunately, at about 2pm on Wednesday in Beijing, Lhadon and Paul (who has been accompanying her during this trip), were picked up by uniformed Chinese police and taken for questioning to a local police station. At this point, we haven’t heard from them since a text message sent by Lhadon confirmed this shortly after their detainment.
Please keep Paul and Lhadon and the other Tibet activists detained in Beijing – Sam, Mel, Leslie, Nupur, Duane, and Pete – in your thoughts, and continue to spread the word about this blog.
We will provide more information here as it’s available to us, as well as ways for you to take action. For now, if you feel moved by the work that Lhadon and Paul have been doing, please participate today in the August 8th International Day of Action or consider donating to SFT’s Olympic Action Fund.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2007
Contact: Kate Woznow (Hong Kong) + 852 657-34874
Tenzin Dorjee (New York) +1 917-304-4571
TIBETAN-CANADIAN OBSERVER DETAINED IN BEIJING HOURS BEFORE OLYMPICS COUNTDOWN CELEBRATION
Hong Kong – On the day of the one-year countdown to the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Lhadon Tethong, a prominent Tibetan independence activist and the Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet, was detained in Beijing. Ms. Tethong was picked up by Chinese authorities together with her colleague Paul Golding, a long-time advocate of Tibetan freedom, and taken to a Beijing police station.
For the past seven days, Ms. Tethong, a Tibetan-Canadian, has been traveling in Beijing, openly blogging at www.BeijingWideOpen.org to expose the reality behind Chinaâ€™s propaganda campaign surrounding the Olympic Games. She and Mr. Golding have been under heavy scrutiny from Chinese authorities, followed at all times by several vehicles as well as plainclothes security officers on foot. This number increased to 30 plainclothes followers after a protest by six activists from Students for a Free Tibet yesterday on Chinaâ€™s Great Wall.
â€œAt the very moment that China is proclaiming Olympic ideals of peace and humanity, it has turned around and silenced Ms. Tethong and Mr. Golding for nothing more than freely expressing their views on the Beijing Olympics and Tibet,â€ said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a Free Tibet. â€œThe Chinese government’s detention of these observers during the one-year countdown exposes the blatant propaganda behind China’s efforts to promote an image of itself as a free and open society.â€
Tethong and Golding’s abrupt detention comes just hours before tens of thousands of people, including national Olympic Association delegates and members of the International Olympic Committee, are gathering in Tiananmen Square for the official countdown celebration. Chinese authorities have not responded to requests by relevant embassies of the six Tibet activists detained on Tuesday for unfurling a 450-square foot banner reading “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008″ in English and Chinese. The whereabouts of the six activists are still unknown.
Tibetans and supporters around the world â€“ from New Delhi to Rome to Ottawa to New York â€“ are holding protests today to mark the countdown, calling on China for a resolution to its occupation of Tibet by August 2008.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a network of young people and activists campaigning for Tibetan independence, with 650 chapters in more than thirty countries worldwide. SFT is based in New York, with offices in Vancouver, London, and Dharamsala, India. www.studentsforafreetibet.org.