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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

`We see our worst fears coming true'

May 2, 2008

Toronto Tibet activist barred from Hong Kong says China to use Games to
increase repression

Noor Javed, Staff Reporter
Toronto Star
May 01, 2008

Within five hours of arriving in Hong Kong, Tsering Lama was identified,
interrogated, searched and escorted by four guards onto a flight back
home to Toronto.

The pro-Tibetan activist arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday, intent on
organizing a non-violent protest to coincide with the arrival of the
Olympic torch in the territory.

But the plan unravelled after Lama, and two other members of the
Students for a Free Tibet – an American and a Briton – were denied entry
to Hong Kong, and sent home.

"We were going to do something that was fairly benign, nothing illegal
or crazy, and yet we were still barred from going to Hong Kong." said
Lama, after arriving in Toronto yesterday afternoon.

The plan was to hold a press conference at their Hong Kong hotel, call
local media and voice their concerns about China's human rights record
and crackdown in Tibet.

But as Lama, who had participated in the San Francisco protest during
the Olympic torch relay, watched the custom officers at the Hong Kong
inspect her passport with increased scrutiny, and fill out the
"restricted" form, the 23-year-old realized the Chinese government had
come up with a plan of its own

"It was a shock, because Hong Kong had always been a much freer place,"
she said. "Now it looks like the Chinese government is influencing Hong
Kong too."

Lama said the officials wouldn't respond to her questions about why she
was being deported other than saying such matters were dealt with as a
case-by-case situation. She says one of the officials escorting her
offered her some explanation.

"She said: `It's a very sensitive time, we have been more stringent than
before.'"

It was the second time in the past week where activists have been denied
entry into Hong Kong. On Saturday, three Danish human rights activists
were detained and deported from Hong Kong.

It's just further proof of China's double standard on human rights and
freedom of speech, said Lama.

"The Olympics will be used by the Chinese government to further restrict
the Tibetan people and further restrict freedoms of the Chinese people,"
she said. "We are seeing our worst fears coming true."

But the setback hasn't deterred Lama from her original plan. Hours after
stepping off the plane, after a 24-hour journey through four U.S.
cities, she was back at work in a downtown Toronto coffee shop yesterday
evening.

"The (Hong Kong) press conference is going ahead at 2 a.m.," she said.
"We are going to hold it here and stream it over the Internet."

"I feel we have to continue. It's not just about educating people here,
we also want to speak to the Chinese people. We have to take it as close
to home as possible."
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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