Artists and citizen journalists detained in Beijing

August 20th, 2008 § 2

James PowderlyThere are some incredible people in detention in Beijing right now. It’s been 50 hrs since they were taken into custody and we still have no word on them. James Powderly has to be one of the most righteous and visionary people I’ve ever met. He is an artist and an activist and was detained sometime around 3am on Tuesday morning for planning a beautiful laser light show in Beijing to speak out in solidarity with the Tibetan people and for the cause of freedom of expression in China.

At some point around the same time, 5 citizen journalists and activists were taken by the Chinese authorities. Brian Conley, creator of the well-known videoblog “Alive in Baghdad,” was detained with Jeffrey Rae, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, and Tom Grant. And what was their crime? They were in China doing one of the most honourable things you can do: documenting the fight for freedom and justice in the face of incredible oppression.

In detaining these people for doing nothing more than peacefully working to support the promotion of human rights and freedom, the Chinese government is showing its true face to the world. This is not a government that has changed to be open, modern or progressive but instead it is an authoritarian power (with occasionally better PR) that is paranoid, insecure and afraid of the truth.

As a Tibetan, I want to say thank you to all of these wonderful people and their families. I know what they are going through right now is not easy. No matter what they might say. But regardless, their voices and their sacrifice at this time, means more than I can ever express.

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