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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."

Ottawa: Pro-Tibet rally irks Chinese embassy

August 8, 2008

Official 'disappointed' that police didn't remove demonstrators; says
breaking law 'is to be punished'
Brendan Kennedy
The Ottawa Citizen; with files from Canwest News Service
August 7, 2008

A pro-Tibet demonstrator unfurls a banner on a lamppost outside the
Chinese Embassy yesterday.

Pro-Tibet demonstrators wrapped up a 90-minute demonstration in front
of the Chinese Embassy peacefully yesterday morning, but not quickly
enough for embassy representatives.

Five members of Students for a Free Tibet who chained themselves to
the embassy's front gates, and two others who scaled nearby lampposts
to unfurl Tibetan flags and pro-Tibet posters, ended their
demonstration at the request of police at about 10:30.

The demonstration wasn't stopped soon enough, according to
representatives of the embassy, who said they were "very
disappointed" that police and RCMP officers did not immediately
remove the demonstrators, who were protesting human rights abuses
perpetrated by China against Tibet, two days before the opening
ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

About a half-hour after the demonstrators chained themselves to the
front gate, Huang Hui Kang, the embassy's deputy chief, made a
statement to media saying that the demonstrators were violating
international laws by protesting on the embassy's property.

"We demand that they be removed immediately," he said, later adding
that the police should use force if necessary. "The violation of law
is to be punished. Order should be maintained."

Other embassy employees argued briefly with police, accusing them of
being too soft on the demonstrators.

Police arrived shortly after the demonstration began and were
followed by the RCMP's demonstrations unit. Neither attempted to
remove the demonstrators, but they did cordon off the area around the
embassy's gates with caution tape.

At around 9:15 a.m., RCMP officers informed the protesters that if
they did not move, they could be arrested for obstruction and
trespassing. The protesters acknowledged that they understood, but
remained silent and did not move.

Just before 10 a.m., the two women who had scaled the lampposts,
Chinese-Canadian Queenly Nga Yiu Lee, a 25-year-old from Vancouver,
and Tibetan-Canadian Bhutila Karpoche, a 24-year-old from Toronto,
began their descent. When they reached the ground, they were briefly
questioned by police before being released. Later, after brief
negotiations with police, the demonstrators chained to the fence
unlocked themselves. They were also questioned before being released.

The demonstrators who chained themselves to the gates are Urgyen
Badheytsang, 22, from Toronto; Tashi Gendun, 22, from Montreal; Sonam
Gendun, 26, from Montreal; and Ugyen Sangyel, 18, from Toronto.

None of the demonstrators was handcuffed or taken into custody. In
the end, no charges were laid and all of the demonstrators were
released after being warned not to get into trouble around the
embassy again or they could be charged with trespassing.

RCMP Cpl. J.J. Hainey said charges could be laid later.

"The important thing to remember here is that we were able to obtain
full co-operation of the protesters and we reached a peaceful
conclusion," he said

Tsering Lama, national director for Students For a Free Tibet, said
the demonstration was a success: "This is our way of inserting the
message into people's consciousness before the Chinese government's
propaganda takes over."

Ms. Lama, whose parents fled Tibet for Canada, said she and her
fellow members would love to be able to demonstrate in China or
Tibet, but the political climate would not permit it.

"Had the Chinese government gotten their way, these people would be
in prison for 20 years," she said, motioning toward the
demonstrators. "I hope these people at the embassy, as angry as they
are, I hope they learn a lesson that at least in Canada, this is
allowed and should be allowed in China and in Tibet."

Yesterday's demonstration in Ottawa wasn't the only one by members of
Students for a Free Tibet.

In Vancouver, members of the group parked a replica tank in front of
the Chinese consulate-general, blocking the front entrance.

And early yesterday morning in Beijing, four members of the group
managed to scale a light standard near the National Stadium --
nicknamed the Bird's Nest, where the opening Olympic ceremonies are
to be held -- and were able to string up a banner proclaiming "One
World, One Dream, Free Tibet," the same message that Ottawa's
demonstrators flew. It stayed aloft for nearly an hour before it was
noticed. Police were called and three Britons and an American were taken away.

With the Olympic Games set to begin tomorrow, the Chinese Embassy in
Ottawa has become a flashpoint for human rights demonstrations of all kinds.

After the Ottawa protest, around noon, Amnesty International
delivered mailbags full of 65,000 petitions in support of several
different political prisoners imprisoned in China. The move was part
of the organization's "Keep the Promise" campaign, which refers to
the fact that China was granted the Olympic Games on the condition
that its human rights record would improve.

John Tackaberry, Amnesty's spokesman, said no one from the embassy
responded when they rang the bell, but the group is planning to
courier the petitions to the embassy today.

In addition, a coalition of human rights groups from Toronto, Ottawa
and Montreal is to gather outside the embassy today at noon for a
rally dubbed "The Human Dignity Event," which aims to draw attention
to what organizers say is China's failure to meet human rights
commitments it made during the Olympic bidding process.

The Citizen was unable to contact anyone at the Chinese Embassy for comment.
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