Thoughts as I return home…

August 10th, 2007 § 49

I am on the plane and we’ve just started our descent. According to the captain we’ll be landing in 20 minutes.

I think there’s a guy following me on the plane. Or maybe I’m just totally paranoid now. But I’m pretty convinced…is this what happens after just one week in China as a dissenter?

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They pulled Kate and I over at Hong Kong immigration. Not Sam. Just us. They said that they had a message from the police to stop us so that they could interview us. After much paperwork and copying our passports and typing information into various computers, they let us go. According to the official, who said he wasn’t allowed to ask any questions, the police no longer wanted the interview. Yeah right. They have all the info they think they need now to keep us out. But they can’t. It’s not that easy.

I’ve been able to read the blog now properly. As it’s not blocked outside of the mainland of the People’s Republic of China. And it’s been amazing to see all of the support we’ve received from people around the world. Thank you to each and every one of you. And to all our critics and dissenters. Please, critique away. It’s not a problem. That’s the beauty of democracy and truly free and open societies – you can express your opinion and – even if you’re against us expressing ours – you won’t get locked up!

I know we did this and got off pretty easy. And while I appreciate that some people think I did something brave, I’m not sure I did. Bravery is standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square. Bravery is getting on a stage in Tibet and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama. Bravery is going to Beijing to petition to get compensation for your confiscated farmland to the very same government that probably took it in the first place. All this, with no protection. No foreign passport, government, or official body that will defend you.

What I did, what we did, it was nothing in comparison. But I hope and I pray that somehow we have made a difference in the battle for human rights and freedom in Tibet and in China. The Olympics spotlight is on the Chinese leadership now and they want the world to believe they are open and free. But they are not. They demonstrated this by deporting me at the very moment that the one-year countdown to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was taking place in Tiananmen square. Paul and I just wanted to attend. To see it for ourselves and to blog about it like one should be able to in any place that truly enjoys freedom.

Some people have said we got what we deserved. Others have suggested we got off to lightly and should act more responsibly next time. I think it is the regime in Beijing – unelected, unaccountable and tyrannical – that should act more responsibly. I think our government, governments around the world, corporations doing business in China and the IOC itself, should act more responsibly. They are the ones who have clear and direct influence over Beijing. They are the ones who could make a huge impact by doing just a little in the way of speaking up for and promoting human rights and democracy.

Until this happens, we will keep doing what we have to do – challenging China’s control over Tibet and working to make the occupation too costly to maintain. One thing is clear in all this Olympics mess, the Chinese government cares what the world thinks. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t spend so much time trying to get us all to like them with slogans like “One World One Dream.” Knowing this, we must push them to change. And if our direct actions are seen as stunts by a few, I trust the vast majority will see them for what they really are, nonviolent expressions of dissent and protest to bring positive social and political change to people living under brutal oppression.

For Tibetans, Uighurs, Southern Mongolians, Taiwanese, Falun Gong, Christians, Catholics, farmers, factory workers, lawyers, doctors, journalists and every other person who lives under fear of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party and their goons, I say, we will never give up.

We stand with you.

On behalf of our wonderful members and supporters around the world,

Lhadon Tethong
Executive Director
Students for a Free Tibet

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