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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

British and US pro-Tibet activists locked to chairs during Chinese interrogation

August 28, 2008

British and American activists jailed by the Chinese for protesting
about Tibet during the Olympics said they were locked to their chairs
for marathon interrogation sessions and deprived of sleep.
By Tom Leonard in New York
The Telegraph (UK)
August 26, 2008

Amanda McKeown, a mother of two from Bristol, was among a group of
ten activists that claim they were mistreated by Chinese police after
being arrested in Beijing

Amanda McKeown after returning to Britain: the mother of two from
Bristol was among a group of activists that claim they were
mistreated by police after being arrested in Beijing Photo: PA

The activists - including eight Americans, a German and Amanda
McKeown, a mother of two from Bristol - were sent home on Sunday
during the games closing ceremony.

They said they were kept in cells and allowed to leave only for
interrogations, which dragged on for up to 16 hours at a time.

With lights shining on them, prisoners were locked into high-backed
metal chairs with bars across their laps.

The protesters said they were made to wear dirty uniforms of red
T-shirts and black shorts. Drinking water was turned on for only 15
minutes a day.

Arriving at Heathrow airport, Ms McKeown, 41, said she was "elated"
to be back in Britain after being held for three days without charge.

Speaking in New York, the American protesters said their Chinese
interrogators accused them of having ties to the US government.

"They asked about our actions, our roles, about our lives --
everything from where I went to high school to everything I ate in
China," said Jeremy Wells, a New Yorker.

Jeff Rae, a 28-year-old photographer from New York, described their
imprisonment as "the scariest – it was beyond anything I could
imagine in a movie".

Many of the detainees said the Chinese kept some of their
electronics, including cameras and laptop computers.

The American government has expressed disappointment that the
Olympics did not bring more "openness and tolerance" in China.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that "the
protesters participated in 'Tibet independence' activities and that
is against China's law".

The statement said China hoped "the relevant countries will teach
their citizens to abide and respect China's laws".

Ms McKeown was arrested in Beijing on Thursday after photographing
three protesters as they unfurled a Free Tibet banner.

She said: "We were arrested and taken to a university for
questioning. We were held for nearly 24-hours without any sleep and
were interrogated for up to about eight hours.

"Then we were moved to a detention centre and before we were allowed
any sleep we had another 12 hours of interrogation."

Ms McKeown said she was not given any legal reason for her arrest.

"The guys I was with were given the reason that it was illegal to
undertake even a peaceful protest and to talk about the situation in
Tibet," she said.
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