Banning Tibet during the Olympics

August 18th, 2008 § 2

Here is a piece from the New Statesman by the Tibetan writer and poet Woeser. Woeser lives in Beijing and is fearless. She is even suing the Chinese government. This piece pretty much says it all.

Banning Tibet

Published 31 July 2008

A great cry, a noise that can be produced only by those who live in the grasslands, sounded from the Tibetan lands in March 2008, shocking the world. The Chinese media called it “the wolf howling”.

When the Olympic torch passed through Lhasa, Tibetans were not allowed to leave their homes unless they had special passes. My friends in Lhasa wondered: “If Chinese citizens can watch the torch when it passes through other cities, why can’t we? Are we not citizens of this country?” » Read the rest of this entry «

Protest traps

August 17th, 2008 § 0

Question: Did SFT think about applying for permits to protest in the Chinese government’s specially designated “protest zones” in and near Beijing during the Olympics?

Who’s missing the point?

August 14th, 2008 § 8

Here’s my second Olympics blog for where I discuss the Tibet protests in Beijing and around the world and why they matter. I also respond to those few observers who like to suggest that our protests are “missing the point.”

“Chinese Ethnic Culture Park” Action

August 13th, 2008 § 2

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.

Beijing Wide Open continues on

August 11th, 2008 § 2

I did this video blog a few days ago for but with all the action happening I haven’t had a second to post it here until now. Please check out Han’s message about the launch of below.

From Han-shan:

I’m pleased to introduce Students for a Free Tibet’s new channel broadcasting throughout the worldwide uprising for Tibetan freedom during the Beijing Olympics: Free Tibet 2008 Television, or FT08.TV.

With all the Olympic actions for Tibet taking place and particularly the incredible success of the ‘opening’ banner action outside Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium on Aug. 6th and subsequent media storm here in the UK, it took some time to get FT08.TV ready for prime time. » Read the rest of this entry «

Tiananmen Square Protest!

August 9th, 2008 § 5

Tiananmen “Tibet Die-in” Protest 080908 from Students for a Free Tibet on Vimeo.

Please watch this video. Five free Tibet activists staged a dramatic die-in today in Tiananmen Square, in the shadow of Chairman Mao’s famous portrait. Tiananmen Square was, of course, made infamous in 1989 when the Chinese government unleashed a massacre against pro-democracy demonstrators. I’m proud that these five protesters brought a message of Tibetan freedom to this important place in Chinese history. Just as China wants to use the Olympics to make the world forget June 4, 1989, it too wants the world to forget about its ongoing crackdown in Tibet. Today’s protest will help ensure that Tibet’s voice is not silenced.

The five protesters were Chris Schwartz, 24, of Montreal, Canada; Diane Gatterdam, 55, Evan Silverman, 31, and Joan Roney, 39, all from New York; and David Demes, 21, of Germany.

I hope these activists’ protest will inspire others around the world to speak out against China’s occupation of Tibet. I hope the action team is safe and doing well. Your actions prove yet again that we will not be silenced.

Protest Before Opening Ceremonies

August 9th, 2008 § 0

Tibetan Flags Protest Beijing 080808 from Students for a Free Tibet on Vimeo.

Last night, just before the start of the opening ceremonies, three SFT activists — Jonathan Stribling-Uss, 27, and Kalaya’an Mendoza, 29, Americans, and Cesar Pablo Maxit, 32, an Argentine-American — were immediately and forcibly detained after unfurling Tibetan flags. We’ve just found out that all three were deported from China earlier today and are on a flight back to New York.

Tibetans have never backed down from their desire for independence in five decades of brutal Chinese occupation. And SFT and our global activists will keep speaking out during these Olympic Games. China thinks they can hold the world’s focus on sport and Beijing’s bright lights, but we’re proving that they can’t keep focus off of Tibet.

Team Tibetan Freedom Will Win

August 8th, 2008 § 0

With only a few hours to go until the Olympics opening ceremonies, we have been busy this week making sure the world hears about the ongoing crackdown inside Tibet and understands the true nature of the Chinese government in the lead up to the Games.

bird's banner actionTibetans and people of conscience from all over the world have taken bold, brave, and creative action this week in a manner that is truly overwhelming. And it is only the beginning.

On August 6, while China’s leadership was trying to focus the world’s attention on their strictly controlled torch relay, four courageous activists climbed poles outside the Bird’s Nest stadium and hung two huge banners to draw attention to the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom and the ongoing violent repression inside Tibet. The activists were detained and quickly deported. Check out to find out more about this action and to see the incredible global coverage it garnered. » Read the rest of this entry «

Just Imagine What They Do Inside Tibet

August 8th, 2008 § 0

Via F.X. Leach at Tibet Will Be Free, the Washington Post has a chilling account of a Tibetan woman trying to return to China from the US with her two young children.

To prevent such protests inside their own borders, Chinese authorities recently threatened to take away one female activist’s two babies as she tried to enter the country. A Tibetan woman surnamed Kemo was returning to China on July 18 after nearly two years in the United States, where she had had two children. She was stopped by a passport control officer, escorted to an interrogation room and asked whether she had ever participated in political protests.

“Yes, but a long time ago,” Kemo said she replied, speaking on the condition that her first name not be used. Officers then showed her computer printouts of photos of her participating at various U.S. protests. “You are lying to us,” an officer told her.

Officers pried the children away from her, slapping her and one of her children when he clutched her purse strap to prevent her from being taken away, she said.

The officer then gave her a choice: accept deportation and buy plane tickets to take her children back to the United States or go to jail and lose her children. After she bought the tickets, police escorted her to the next flight to New York and returned her children on the jetway to the airplane.

This is what they do to someone in an airport, someone who’s live in the West and could return to New York and tell the press how she was abused and mistreated at the hands of Chinese security and how their abuse extended towards hitting her young children and threatening to kidnap them…just imagine what the Chinese government is doing to Tibetans inside of Tibet now.

And if you are shocked that China is spying on Tibetans at protests in the U.S., in New York City…just imagine the power of the Chinese surveillance state inside Tibet.

This happened on the eve of the Olympics. To say that change is the same as it ever was would be a horrible understatement. Their treatment of Tibetans is getting worse.

SFT press briefing on situation in Tibet & plans for protest

August 5th, 2008 § 0

Please go to to watch SFT’s press briefing from earlier this week.

Students for a Free Tibet’s leadership speaks out one week before the opening of the Beijing Olympics updating members of the press on current conditions inside Tibet, and SFT’s plans to continue to use Beijing’s Summer Olympics to shine a spotlight on China’s brutal occupation of Tibet.

Good morning and thank you everyone for joining us for our pre-Beijing Olympics press briefing.

My name is Lhadon Tethong and I am the Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) International based in New York City. As many of you know, Students for a Free Tibet is a grassroots network of students, youth and people of conscience in over 100 countries working in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence.

For the past 8 years we have played a leading role in the international campaign to first stop China from getting the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and then to bring awareness to the Chinese government’s use of the Olympics as a political tool to whitewash their human rights record and legitimize their illegal and brutal occupation of Tibet. » Read the rest of this entry «