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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Global Human Rights Torch Relay

April 22, 2008

Pro-China and pro-Tibet demonstrators clash in Salt Lake City
By Brett Prettyman
The Salt Lake Tribune
04/21/2008 06:31:31 AM MDT

With the exception of a quick hug, participants in opposing rallies
confronted one another without physical contact in downtown Salt Lake
City on Sunday.

The Global Human Rights Torch Relay demonstration, held on the west side
of Washington Square Park, was designed to inform the world and stop
human rights crimes in China while also protesting the 2008 Beijing

A block away, at Salt Lake City Library Square, members of various
Chinese groups had gathered in support of the Beijing Olympics. The
groups clashed when the human rights group marched east on 400 South
past the entrance to the library.

The situation escalated enough that Salt Lake City police officers had
to position themselves between the groups, leaving most of the conflict
to finger-pointing and accusations.

This was all preceded by a man in Washington Square Park who was wearing
a wool hat in the color of the Tibetan flag. He approached, and then
gently hugged, a man who held a sign claiming that a local Tibetan
organization was a terrorist group.

"No contact," was the only response from the man holding the sign.

The majority of people participating in the Human Rights Torch Relay
were there in protest of recent and historical actions by the Chinese
government in Tibet.

"Every day we have to fight to wake people up about what is happening
and what has happened in Tibet," Tenzink Tsering, a 23-year-old woman
from Salt Lake and political science student at the University of Utah,
said during the march. "The Olympics are a good platform for us to stand
up against the Chinese government. We are not against the Chinese people
or the Olympics. We only want the Chinese government to improve human
rights in Tibet."

After the four-block march, the relay group returned to hear speeches
from local politicians and hear songs and poems on human rights, but
participants seemed most charged by the words of Kai Chen, a former
member of the Chinese national basketball team.

Chen used the popular American history saying "Give me liberty or give
me death" from Patrick Henry in 1775 as an example of what should be
done to ensure human rights across the world.

"Not once in my life over there was I treated as a human. I was only
used by them and they used my love for basketball as hostage against my
freedom," Chen said.

Chen called the communist rule in China "slavery of the soul."

Over at Library Square, dragons were dancing and Beijing 2008 Olympic
shirts were proudly displayed.

Zemin and Qin Zhon, Chinese students at the University of Utah, were
proud to support the Olympics in Beijing and said they do not agree with
the accusations of human rights injustices in Tibet.

"Life is different than it was before [for Tibetans]," Zemin said.
"Everyone's life is very good in Tibet."

Yifan Shi, also a Chinese student at the University of Utah, was handing
out fact sheets about Tibet.

"Both sides should realize there are some problems," he said. "Talk and
peace is the way to go about making changes."

But peace was broken at the end of the rallies. Some participants in the
Global Human Rights Torch Relay event wandered to the other side of the
City-County building and taunts were quickly exchanged across 200 East.
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