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Pro-Tibetan Activists Pledge Worldwide Protests During Beijing Olympics

June 5, 2008

The Associated Press
June 3, 2008

ATHENS, Greece -- Pro-Tibetan activists on Tuesday promised worldwide
protests during the Beijing Olympics and said they would try to
penetrate security to mount demonstrations in Beijing itself.

An international network of student activists, Students for a Free
Tibet, will hold demonstrations around the world "and probably in
Beijing" during the Aug. 8-24 Games to protest China's security
clampdown in Tibet, said group spokeswoman Lhadon Tethong.

Tethong also called on the International Olympic Committee to cancel
the planned passage of the Olympic flame through Tibet next week and
to press China to allow immediate media access to the area.

She was speaking at a news conference in Athens, where the IOC
executive board will start a three-day meeting Wednesday to select
the candidate cities for the 2016 Olympics.

The group, which also organized protests along the route of the
Olympic flame, would have a tough time carrying off a demonstration
in Beijing, and Tethong gave no details on how they would get around security.

China's authoritarian government has promised a massive security
presence at the Games, which may include undercover agents dressed as
volunteers. It has also tightened controls on visas and residence
permits for foreigners — who are banned from entering Tibet.

In Hong Kong on Tuesday, opposition lawmakers voiced concern that
authorities there could impose similar restrictions on protests
during the Olympics equestrian competition, which will be held in Hong Kong.

The territory has become a possible magnet for protesters as mainland
China has tightened visa restrictions. The Hong Kong government has
said police will assign sites to protesters during the equestrian event.

Tethong accused China of "drawing a curtain of silence" across Tibet.

"In denying access to Tibet for the international media the Chinese
government is attempting to prevent confirmation and coverage of
killings, beatings, arrests, detentions, re-education camps and other
such repression."

China says 22 people died in anti-government violence in Tibet's
capital of Lhasa in March, while foreign Tibet supporters say many
times that number were killed in the protests and a subsequent crackdown.

Tethong said the situation in Tibet remains "critical."

"It's as bad (as in March) if not worse," she said. "There is a
horrific military occupation and repression."
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