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Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians protested in front of the Chinese embassy in Berlin

August 10, 2008

Deutsche Welle (Germany)
August 7, 2008

A day before the Olympics open in Beijing, around 100 protestors
rallied in front of the Chinese embassy in Berlin Thursday to
demonstrate for human rights. Similar protests are planned in several
other European cities.

Demonstrators representing Tibetan groups, Uighurs, Mongolians and
the Falun Gong spiritual movement gathered in front of the Chinese
embassy in Berlin on Thursday, Aug 7, waving flags and holding banners.

The protest was one of a series of events planned in several European
cities on the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing to draw world
attention to China's poor human rights record.

Protests were planned in Lisbon and in Porto in Portugal, candle
vigils in several Swiss cities and one in Norway, while in London the
Free Tibet campaign was to hold a protest in front of the Chinese
embassy on Friday.

France bans protests outside Chinese embassy

In Paris, authorities banned rights groups from demonstrating outside
the Chinese embassy on Thursday and Friday.

News agency AFP reported that a ruling ruling sent to media watchdog
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) bans "all gatherings" from Thursday
at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) to Friday at midnight (2200 GMT) within a fixed
perimeter surrounding the Chinese embassy and consulate.

RSF had called for a rally outside the embassy at 1:00 pm Friday, to
coincide with French President Nicolas Sarkozy's arrival in Beijing
for the three-hour-long Olympic opening ceremony.

The media watchdog has challenged the ruling in court, with a
decision due Friday at 10:30 am, AFP reported.

"Games of repression"

The demonstrators in Berlin tried -- and failed -- on Thursday to
hand over a petition signed by 10,000 people calling for greater
human rights in China organised by a local non-governmental organisation.

According to the Goettingen-based human rights group, Society for
Threatened Peoples, the diplomatic delegation would not grant an
appointment, despite multiple requests.

By handing over the petition the organization wanted to once against
demonstrate against the increasing persecution of ethnic groups and
religious communities. The Society for Threatened Peoples' secretary
general , Tilman Zülch, told German news agency DPA that this would
not be a "Games of Peace" for Tiebtans, Uighurs, Mongolians and Falun
Gong members.

"They've already suffered too much repression in the past months for
that," he added.

Zülch also told news agency DDP that the Olympics in China were
"comparable with the games from 1936 in Berlin," when Nazi Germany
hosted the sporting event.

"These aren't the games of openness and friendship, but rather the
games of repression," he said, adding that China was a ruled by a
totalitarian regime that committed human rights abuses.

China has painted the Games as a celebration of three decades of
economic reforms and hopes the event will showcase a rapidly
modernizing country.

More than 1,000 Tibetans missing, groups say

Some 100 participants took park in the demonstration in Berlin which
couldn't take place directly at the embassy due to police barriers.
They held up banners with Chinese characters written on them,
expressing their hope for improvement of human rights.

The protestors also took lit torches, emblazoned with the Olympic
rings, and put them out in giant tubs of water. With this symbolic
gesture, the demonstrators wanted to make clear that Beijing has
failed to honor the promises made leading up to the games to better
human rights in the country.

According to human rights organizations, more than 1,000 Tibetan were
taken into custody during the unrest and mass arrests in March 2008
and are still missing.

More than 1,500 Uighurs have been arrested in recent weeks for
political reasons, and members of the Falun Gong sects have been
victims of torture and murder. 3,160 of them have meet grisly deaths
while in the custody of the security forces, they say.

Germany-wide "protestival"

Pro-Tibet groups are planning to hold Germany-wide demonstrations in
order to call attention to the constant violations of human rights in China.

Over the next 17 days, some 50 campaigns are planned to take place in
30 different cities, including Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.

One group of Tibet activists plan to hold a "protestival" at Berlin's
landmark Brandenburg Gate to call attention to the "ongoing bad human
rights situation" in the Chinese-controlled province.

Campaign organizers are hoping to use the demonstrations to find a
peaceful solution to the Tibet question as well as an end to torture,
capital punishment and other human rights violations in China.
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