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"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."

China detains 6 US pro-Tibet activists in Beijing

August 21, 2008

August 13, 2008

BEIJING (AP) -- Police detained five American activists Tuesday after
they unfurled a "free Tibet" banner near a key Olympics venue in
Beijing, according to a pro-Tibet group.

An American graffiti artist, who planned to use laser beams to flash
the same message on buildings in the Chinese capital, was also
detained, according to a colleague and Students for a Free Tibet.

The five protesters were taken away by security shortly before
midnight for displaying the banner, which outlined "free Tibet" in
English and Chinese with tiny blue diodes, near the Beijing National
Stadium, the group said in a statement.

A spokesman in the news department of Beijing's Municipal Publicity
Security Bureau said he was not aware of the protest. He gave only
his surname, Li, as is common among officials in China because they
are not allowed to discuss sensitive issues with the media.

The group identified the activists as Amy Johnson, 33; Sam Corbin,
24; Liza Smith, 31; Jacob Blumenfeld, 26, and Lauren Valle, 21. Their
whereabouts were unknown, the group said.

Earlier in the day, James Powderly, co-founder of Graffiti Research
Lab in New York, was also detained as he prepared to use a handheld
green laser to project messages on prominent structures in Beijing.

Powderly's colleague, Nathan Dorjee, said in New York that he
received a text message from the artist which said he had been
detained around 3 a.m. by police.

"He was going to project a message that said, `Free Tibet,' and some
other messages that would have been three-stories high in different
locations in Beijing," Dorjee said.

Li declined to comment on Powderly's case.

The protests are only the latest instances in which foreign activists
were detained after seeking to use the Olympic Games to criticize
China for its rule in Tibet, alleging human rights abuses and
religious restrictions. Other foreign demonstrators, many of whom
also tried to hang "Free Tibet" banners in Beijing, have been quickly
picked up and deported.

"The Chinese leadership must realize that the only way it can make
the issue of Tibet disappear is to acknowledge the demands of the
Tibetan people and work with them to bring an end to China's
occupation of Tibet," said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students
for a Free Tibet in a statement.

China maintains that the Himalayan region has been part of its
territory for centuries, while many Tibetans insist they were an
independent nation before communist troops invaded in 1950.

Powderly is a well-known New York graffiti artist who projects laser
beam "tag" messages onto iconic skyscrapers and other notable
structures such as the Brooklyn Bridge. His messages are typically
political and often promote freedom of speech and expression.

His projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New
York and the Tate Modern museum in London.
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