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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?"

Oregonian detained after unfurling Tibet banner

August 8, 2008

By AUDRA ANG
The Associated Press
August 5, 2008          

BEIJING (AP) -- Four foreign activists were led away by police
Wednesday after unfurling pro-Tibet banners outside the Beijing
National Stadium, where the opening ceremony for this week's Olympic
Games will be held.

Two men from Students for a Free Tibet each climbed a light pole in
front of the so-called Bird's Nest and put up the banners at dawn,
said Lhadon Tethong, the New York-based group's executive director.
The other two — a man and a woman — provided support from the base of
the poles, she said.

It was the first demonstration at a venue for the games, which open
Friday. Beijing organizers, who have taken great pains to put strict
security measures in place to show that Beijing is capable of hosting
the event, condemned the protest.

"We express our strong opposition," said Sun Weide, spokesman for the
Beijing Olympics organizing committee. "In terms of assembly and
demonstrations, China has related laws and regulations. We hope that
foreigners will respect the related Chinese laws and regulations."

Sun said the demonstrators were "persuaded to leave" by police, who
received tips from local residents about the protest. The four have
not been arrested or taken to a police station, he said.

International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said
that organizers should expect people to "use the platform of the
Olympic Games to draw attention to their causes."

"The IOC are confident Beijing city authorities will assess the
situation reasonably and act with tact and understanding," she said.

Tibet has been an extremely sensitive topic since protests against
almost 50 years of Chinese rule turned violent in the region's
capital of Lhasa in March. Many Tibetans insist they were an
independent nation before communist troops invaded in 1950, while
Beijing says the Himalayan region has been part of its territory for centuries.

Similar demonstrations were sparked in Tibetan communities throughout
Western China and a massive crackdown by Chinese security forces
ensued. Pro-Tibet groups say scores of monks and nuns have been
arrested, imprisoned and beaten since March.

The uprising brought a tide of critical reporting by the foreign
media and turned the Olympics torch relay into a melee of protests.
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