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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?"

Protester nabbed in Hong Kong for pro-Tibet sit-in

March 15, 2010

Associated Press

Hong Kong authorities on Sunday arrested a protester who took part in a
small sit-in marking the anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Beijing,
drawing criticism from rights activists here who say police are infringing
on the territory's Western-style freedoms.

The 21-year-old man, accused of attacking police in a scuffle, was not
immediately charged and was freed on 500 Hong Kong dollars ($64) bail,
police spokeswoman Daisy Wong said. He was among about 20 protesters who
held a candlelit vigil Saturday night and then tried to raise a Tibetan flag
on the gates of the Chinese government's liaison office in Hong Kong, the
Apple Daily newspaper reported.

Rights activists allege that the Hong Kong government, under pressure from
Beijing, has started to take a harder line against protesters critical of
China's authoritarian regime. Police have recently arrested demonstrators
demanding Beijing free a prominent dissident and democratic reform for Hong
Kong, and raided an underground radio station founded by young pro-democracy
activists. Among those arrested suspects was an opposition Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 but
retains a separate political system that is supposed to protect civil
liberties like freedom of protest, which are often denied on the mainland.

But activists say police have recently confronted demonstrators who have
gathered outside the Chinese liaison office. The latest protest, which ended
early Sunday, was marking the 51st anniversary of a failed uprising against
Chinese rule that forced Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to flee
into exile.

"This approach of protecting the liaison office from embarrassment by all
means necessary has gone to an extreme where there is a total disrespect for
the constitutional right to protest," Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor
Director Law Yuk-kai said.

Hong Kong's best-known democracy advocate, Martin Lee, said he was so
worried by the recent spate of arrests that he has assembled a team of
lawyers, including himself, to represent the activists pro bono, the Ming
Pao Daily News reported Sunday.

The Hong Kong police didn't immediately respond to questions on the
allegations of aggressive tactics. A woman who answered the phone at the
Chinese liaison office Sunday said no one was available for comment.
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