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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."

Demonstrator tells of 9-hour interrogation

August 19, 2008

Tibet activist detained, ousted from Beijing
By Matt Collette, Globe Correspondent
The Boston Globe
August 18, 2008

Kurt Langer says he was followed by undercover police officers for
more than a day, then arrested by Chinese authorities and
interrogated before he was deported to the United States.

The Boston native and board chairman of Students for a Free Tibet
arrived in Boston last night and outlined the frightening ordeal he
endured after protesting at the Olympic Games in Beijing to raise
awareness for Tibet.

Langer, 34, and five other demonstrators from his group were arrested
and forced out of China on Friday after hanging a 375-square-foot
"Free Tibet" sign from the façade of the headquarters of state-run
China Central Television. The organization also protested at the
Birds Nest Stadium, in Tiananmen Square, and at the Chinese Ethnic
Culture Park.

"It was a little disconcerting," Langer said of his arrest. "I was
detained in Beijing for nine hours."

Langer, who now lives in New York City, developed an interest in
Tibet during a semester abroad while a student at Brown University,
where he founded a chapter of Students for a Free Tibet.

"The more of the personal stories I heard, the more I wanted to do to
raise awareness," he said."

I always knew it [getting arrested & deported] was going to be a possibility."

In an interview with ABC News Friday, the vice president of the
Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, Wang Wei, called the protest at
CCTV "a very unwelcome and unacceptable kind of activity in China"
and said that conditions in Tibet were good.

While in Beijing, Langer had been acting as a spokesman for Students
for a Free Tibet. Last night, about 30 Tibetan-Americans met him at
Logan International Airport.

"I didn't know [supporters would be here]," Langer said. I felt very honored."

When Langer arrived, the group presented him with a white ceremonial
scarf, draped a Tibetan flag over his shoulders, and gave him a
bouquet of purple and white flowers.

Ngawang Jordan, a 30-year-old volunteer for Students for a Free
Tibet, organized the group of greeters, most of whom said they had
never met Langer. Jordan was born in India to Tibetan parents and
moved to Boston in 1999, "for a better life," he said.

"We really felt touched by it," Jordan said. "He's a non-Tibetan
supporter, and he's really working for the Tibetan cause."

The Tibetan community in Boston, Jordan said, was grateful that
Langer had taken a stand for Tibet; most Tibetan-Americans cannot get
visas to return to China simply because of their names, Jordan said.

Chodon Tenzin, 49, of Boston, was among the local Tibetan-Americans
who gathered at the airport to greet Langer. She said she wanted to
go to Beijing for the Olympics, but was denied a visa.

"Something like this, I can do," she said. "We have a responsibility
to do something, to show the world, that Tibet needs to be free."

As the Games approached, protests about alleged rights abuses in
Tibet escalated. The Tibetan-American community and Students for a
Free Tibet maintain Tibetans are not free under Chinese rule.

"We really appreciate his support and the risk and trouble he took,"
said Pema Tsewang, 52, a Boston resident who works for a company
publishing books about Tibetan Buddhism. "He was able to show the
spotlight about what is going on in Tibet right now and how the
Tibetans are suffering."

"No matter what it takes, Tibet will be free," Tenzin said.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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