Join our Mailing List

"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."

Anti-China protests worldwide as Olympics begin

August 11, 2008

The Associate Press (AP)
August 8, 2008

LONDON (AP) -- An anti-China protester set himself on fire outside
the Chinese Embassy in the Turkish capital and demonstrators raised
the Tibetan flag Friday in defiance in London in protests worldwide
timed to coincide with the start of the Beijing Olympics.

In Ankara, a demonstrator suffered second-degree burns after setting
himself on fire during a rally by several hundred ethnic Uighurs,
officials said. He was identified as a 35-year-old from Turkey's
local Uighur community, an ethnic minority in China seeking
independence or greater autonomy.

In Katmandu, Nepal's capital, thousands of Tibetan exiles
demonstrated at the Chinese Embassy, shouting, "China, thief: Leave
our country. Stop killing in Tibet."

Police forcibly dispersed the protesters, some of whom tried to storm
the embassy, police official Ramesh Thapa said. More than 1,000
people were detained for violating a ban on demonstrations — the
largest number of Tibetans detained in a single day in Katmandu.

More than 2,000 protesters marched in Dharmsala, a north Indian hill
town that is home to the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai
Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.

In China, three Americans who planned to hold Tibetan flags during
the opening ceremony were detained by police as they traveled to
Beijing National Stadium, Students for a Free Tibet executive
director Lhadon Tethong said.

While the spectacle of the opening ceremonies was broadcast on large
screens in London's Trafalgar Square, the Chinese Embassy was the
focus for protesters railing against the country's treatment of
people in Tibet, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar.

"The Olympics shouldn't have been offered to China on the basis of
their human rights record," said Liawang Tsang, whose family fled
Tibet nine years ago. "But from this, there have been positives as
the attention of the world is now on China and their human rights
record is in the spotlight."

About 300 people gathered in front of the embassy, most wearing red
headbands in memory of people killed in Tibet. They demonstrated amid
a sea of flags, and were accompanied by a Buddhist monk. A small
counter-demonstration of about a dozen people took place around the
corner from the embassy.

Hundreds in Brussels joined the global protest, with five
demonstrators standing outside the European Union headquarters with
Olympic rings around their necks, bloodstained bandages on their
heads and their wrists bound in chains to call for a free Tibet.

The Beijing Games have become a focus for activists critical of China
on issues ranging from its human rights record and heavy-handed rule
in Tibet, to its abortion policies and repression of the Falun Gong
spiritual movement.

Beijing considers the Olympic Games a huge source of national pride
and is doing all it can to make sure they go off without a hitch —
such as ugly television images of protesters scuffling with police.

In China, authorities were on their highest alert in the final hours
before the opening ceremony, guarding against anyone who might try to
take the shine off the curtain raiser watched worldwide. Beijing's
landmark Tiananmen Square was sealed off. Foreigners who have
protested in recent days were deported, and Chinese who did the same
were in custody.

In semiautonomous Hong Kong, Briton Matt Pearce was detained after
unfurling two banners on a major bridge. Wearing a mask of a horse's
head and a white shirt bearing the Olympic rings, Pearce hung banners
reading: "We want human rights and democracy" and "The people of
China want freedom from oppression."

Hong Kong police said he was being held for questioning on a possible
charge of causing a public nuisance.

Forty other protesters chanted slogans urging China to democratize
near one of the venues for the Olympic equestrian event, to be held
in Hong Kong.

Tibet activists have stepped up their international campaign against
Chinese rule in their homeland since demonstrations erupted in the
Tibetan capital in March and Beijing responded with a military crackdown.

Those protests were some of the biggest against almost 50 years of
Chinese rule. 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.

Associated Press writers Dikky Sinn in Beijing; Binaj Gurubacharya in
Katmandu, Nepal; Min Lee in Hong Kong, Burhan Ozbilici in Ankara,
Turkey; and Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi contributed to this report.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank