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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China: One Thousand Protesters Unaccounted for In Tibet Lock-down

June 20, 2008

Amnesty International
June 18, 2008

As the Olympic torch relay travels to Lhasa, Amnesty International
today urged the Chinese government to provide information about the
over 1,000 people detained during the protests last March and called
for free access to Tibet by independent observers.

The call came as Amnesty International published an update on the
situation in Tibet since the outbreak of violence ­ looking at the
continuinng violent crackdown against protesters, the situation of
those detained, including those reported to have been beaten and
deprived of proper health care and adequate food, and the severe
censorship facing journalists and Tibetans.

"There is very little information coming out of Tibet, but the
information we have paints a dire picture of arbitrary detentions and
abuse of detainees," said Sam Zarifi, Asia-Pacific Director at
Amnesty International.

"With the torch relay about to enter Tibetan areas, this should be an
opportunity to shine some light on the situation there."

Official reports only provide information on a small number of those
who have been sentenced after questionable trials.

Foreign journalists are still blocked from entering Tibet. Limited
reports that have come through friends and family members to the
media and Tibetan organizations say police and security forces have
confiscated mobile phones, computers and other communications
equipment in hundreds of raids on monasteries, nunneries and private
homes, physically preventing thousands from communication with the
outside world.

Those who dare to find ways of sending information to foreign media
or human rights organizations regarding protests and arrests, risk
arrest and imprisonment.

"The complete lock-down in Tibet is allowing human rights abuses such
as arbitrary detentions,  ill treatment and severe censorship to go
unreported and unpunished,” said Sam Zarifi.

"Hundreds of people languish in Chinese prisons for peacefully
expressing their opinions, in appalling conditions and without their
relatives even knowing where they are. The passing of the torch
should allow journalists a chance to see the actual situation on the
ground and promote the ‘Free and Open Olympics’ promised in the
Beijing Olympic Action Plan.”

Chinese authorities have not only detained monks and nuns and other
protesters, they have also targeted Tibetan artists who did not have
any direct involvement in the on-going protests. What these figures
had in common was involvement in efforts to preserve Tibetan culture.
Jamyang Kyi, a well-known singer, TV presenter and producer, was
arrested on 1 April from her work place at the Qinghai TV station and
held incommunicado for at least one month before, it is believed,
being placed under house arrest, only after paying a significant fee.


Initial protests after March 10 turned violent and targeted ethnic
Han Chinese individuals and businesses. But protesters, often led by
monks and nuns, are believed to have been mainly peaceful since March
14, when the Dalai Lama exhorted demonstrators to avoid violence.

The Olympic torch relay is travelling through China under great
scrutiny and with journalists highly controlled in areas such as the
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The original schedule for the
torch relay travelling through Tibet has been changed and it is now
reported to be on Saturday 21 June.
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