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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?"

Tibet protest in Tiananmen Square as Olympics begin, Five detained following dramatic "Die-In"

August 11, 2008

Students for a Free Tibet
August 9, 2008

Beijing, August 9 - Five Tibet supporters held a dramatic protest in
Tiananmen Square early this afternoon, calling for an end to the
Chinese government's occupation of Tibet. Four of the activists,
lying down and draped in Tibetan national flags, staged a mock die-in
with the famous portrait of Mao in the background. A fifth activist
spoke about their reason for protesting there today.

The five activists, David Demes, 21, from Germany, Evan Silverman,
31, Diane Gatterdam, 55, and Joan Roney, 39, from the United States,
and Chris Schwartz, 24, from Canada, were detained by security
approximately ten minutes after the protest began.

"The Chinese government is seeking to cover up its ugly occupation of
Tibet with the bright lights of the Olympics," said Matt Whitticase,
Press Officer of Free Tibet Campaign. "Our action at Tiananmen Square
today highlights the determination of Tibetans and people of
conscience that no amount of repression from the Chinese government
will extinguish the desire of Tibetans for freedom and to speak out
against China's worsening abuses in Tibet."

"The world is watching China today as the Olympics begin, and with
this action, the voices of the Tibetan people will be heard despite
the best attempts of the Chinese authorities to silence them," said
Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. "The
Chinese government will not be allowed to use the Olympics to hide
the reality of its harsh rule inside Tibet."

The action follows two other high-profile protests by Tibet
supporters in Beijing. On August 8th, one hour before the opening
ceremony began, three activists held Tibetan flags aloft near the
Bird's Nest stadium and the Olympic Park. They were tackled by
security and swiftly detained; they were deported from Beijing at 1pm
today and are on flights to New York. Earlier in the week, four
members of Students for a Free Tibet hung two banners outside the
Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium. The two Americans and two Britons were
detained and swiftly deported. They arrived in their home countries
on August 7th.

Contacts:
In Beijing: John Hocevar, eyewitness, founder of Students for a Free
Tibet, +86 15 011 000 494
Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet and
Kate Woznow, Campaigns Director, Students for a Free Tibet, +1
917-289-0228 or +44 2070-846-359
Matt Whitticase, Free Tibet Campaign, + 66 844 549 764
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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