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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Canadians arrested over Tibet protest

August 13, 2008

Jeff Lee, Canwest News Service
The Ottawa Citizen
August 11, 2008

BEIJING - Two Canadian pro-Tibet activists were among six people
arrested early today after they tried to unfurl a flag and a banner
on Tiananmen Square.

Within hours, the group, including three Americans and a Tibetan
woman of German nationality, were put on an aircraft bound for Los Angeles.

"We figured it was now or never, because we were constantly being
followed and figured we were about to be arrested," said Steve
Andersen, who called a Vancouver Sun reporter from the aircraft while
it was delayed on the runway because of bad weather.

Mr. Andersen, who said he was from Edmonton, identified the other
Canadian arrested as Maude Côté of Montreal.

The two are members of the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet,
which yesterday staged a similar protest on Tiananmen Square that
resulted in the arrest and deportation of five others, including
another Montreal resident, Chris Schwartz.

Shortly after Mr. Schwartz was arrested, Ms. Côté said she expected
she too would soon be arrested and deported. She said she was willing
to undergo that as a way of expressing solidarity for citizens of
Tibet, whom she said were being abused by Chinese authorities.

Mr. Andersen said the short-lived protest was interrupted almost
immediately by security guards who roughed them up.

"They treated us fairly well. One person was kicked and the others
were hit. We got treated better than the people who live in Tibet."

There was no independent way of verifying Mr. Andersen's account.
However, other media reports identified the Tibetan-German woman as
Padma-Dolma Fielitz, 21.

She and another protester attempted to hold up a banned Tibetan
national flag, which was wrested from her hands, just outside the
south side of the square. When the other activists tried to unfurl
another banner, they were set upon by other agents. Mr. Andersen said
there were a number of other activists still in Beijing who intend to
use the Summer Games to publicly protest China's treatment of Tibet.

After Mr. Schwartz was arrested, Foreign Affairs Minister David
Emerson said embassy officials were trying to identify his
nationality, but understood he might not be a Canadian.

However, a spokeswoman for Students for a Free Tibet said Mr.
Schwartz held Canadian and Irish citizenships.

"He had to travel to China on his Irish passport because he was
denied a visa to China on his Canadian passport, likely because he
has been a longtime and outspoken Tibet supporter," Melanie Raoul
wrote in an e-mail.

Jeff Lee is in Beijing as part of the Canwest News Service Olympic Team
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