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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?"

A Month Before Olympics, China Imprisons Over 1,000 Tibetan Monks

July 10, 2008

China Holds Lhasa Monks in Faraway Prisons to Prevent Protests During Games
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Students for a Free Tibet
July 7, 2008

Contact: Tenzin Dorjee in New York: +1 917-289-0228

New York -- One month before the Beijing Olympics, Chinese
authorities are engaged in a campaign of severe repression in Tibet
designed to prevent protests during the Games. With the Olympics fast
approaching, Tibetans and Tibet supporters worldwide are expressing
outrage at China's continued clampdown in Tibet, the complete failure
of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to press for human
rights improvements, and the recent decisions of world leaders,
including U.S. President George W. Bush, to attend the Olympics
opening ceremonies. The Beijing Olympics open one month from tomorrow
on August 8, 2008.

According to sources in eastern Tibet, over one thousand Tibetan
monks from the three main monasteries around Lhasa have been
imprisoned in jails and detention centers far from the Tibetan
capital in what China calls its Qinghai Province. Hundreds of these
monks have reportedly been detained in and around the city of Gormo
(Ch: Golmud), in the Amdo region of historical Tibet, more than 1,000
kilometers north of Lhasa. Many more are reportedly being held in
Siling (Ch: Xining) on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. In
The Times, Beijing-based journalist Jane Macartney reports (July 7)
that the monks will be held until after the Beijing Games, whereupon
they will be forced to return to their home villages. A large
majority of the monks studying in Lhasa have traveled there from
other parts of Tibet to study at the renowned Sera, Drepung, and
Ganden monasteries around the capital.

"The Chinese government has locked up over a thousand Buddhist monks
in Tibet to crush any sign of dissent during the Olympics," said
Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet.
"This is the latest in a series of Beijing's despicable acts that use
the Olympics as an excuse to crack down on Tibetan cries for human
rights and freedom."

Students for a Free Tibet calls upon the government of the People's
Republic of China to immediately release all those Tibetans who have
been detained without charge or due process of law. Article 9 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights decrees that "no one shall be
subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

"The Chinese authorities are planning to perpetrate a massive fraud
during the Olympics, attempting to convince the world that all is
well while Tibetans continue to suffer under China's brutal
occupation," said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a Free Tibet.

Just over two weeks ago, Chinese authorities placed the Tibetan
capital Lhasa under virtual martial law to parade the Olympic torch
through streets lined with thousands of Chinese troops. Journalists
who joined a government-controlled tour of Lhasa during the torch
relay reported that there were virtually no monks in Lhasa or at
nearby monasteries.

Along with a network of over 150 Tibet groups, Students for a Free
Tibet has launched an "Athlete Wanted" campaign, appealing to Olympic
athletes from every participating nation to speak out for Tibet while
in Beijing. During the recent U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in
Eugene, Oregon, Tibetans and their supporters reached out to
athletes, distributing thousands of informational flyers and other
materials about Tibet to Olympic hopefuls and their families.

"We are extremely disappointed that President Bush and other world
leaders are turning a blind eye to the suffering of the Tibetan
people and attending the Olympics opening ceremonies," said Han Shan,
Olympics Campaign Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet. "We are
appealing to athletes to show these leaders the true meaning of
courage and character by standing up for Tibet at the Beijing Olympics."

The coalition of Tibet groups recently launched
www.AthleteWanted.org, where athletes can find ideas and resources
for showing support for Tibet in Beijing this summer. The website
suggests nonviolent symbolic statements such as raising a Tibetan
flag, wearing 'Team Tibet' clothing, and gives advice on speaking to
media about Tibet.

With only one month remaining until the opening of the Beijing
Olympics, Tibetans throughout the entire Tibetan plateau continue to
suffer under a massive clampdown by Chinese authorities. Tibet was
recently reopened to foreign tourists, though most monasteries remain
off-limits. International media remain barred from Tibet, with the
exception of reporters invited to join four small, tightly-controlled
government tours since the uprising began on March 10th, anniversary
of the 1959 uprising against China's occupation. Hundreds of Tibetans
were killed in China's violent crackdown against Tibetan protests,
and thousands remain detained. Buddhist monasteries and nunneries
throughout Tibet have been sealed off, and Chinese officials have
touted political indoctrination campaigns designed to break Tibetan
resistance to Chinese rule.

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