The detention of a Tibetan activist raises serious concerns about China's promise of a free and open Olympics, Human Rights in China (HRIC) said today.
The executive director of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), Lhadon Tethong, and fellow activist Paul Golding were detained in Beijing on the afternoon of August 7, one day before the Olympics countdown celebration, and were taken to a Beijing police station.
Tethong and Golding had been in Beijing for the previous week, using the international focus on China before the one-year countdown celebration on August 8 to draw attention to China's human rights abuses in Tibet. SFT reported that Tethong and Golding had been under round-the-clock surveillance by Chinese authorities, at some points followed by up to 30 police officers.
In 2001, Wang Wei, the executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games, said at a press conference, "If you have a different opinion, you are welcome to voice it." However, "this incident should be a clear warning to the international community that not everyone is welcome in Beijing—peaceful expression of critical views is still not tolerated," said Sharon Hom, executive director of HRIC. "The Chinese authorities should be aware by now the world is watching—and what counts are actions, not promises."
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For HRIC's recent report on related issues, please see: