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Tibetans and activists protest UN visit by Wen Jiabao, Beijing’s “kinder and gentler” face

September 25, 2008

Protesters demand the release of political and religious prisoners,
especially two Tibetan filmmakers. Wen Jiabao’s “kindness” cannot hide
the regime’s violent nature and unreliability.

New York  09/24/2008 (AsiaNews) – Tibetans and human rights activists
have begun a series of protests against China during the first visit to
the United Nations by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao since the slaughter of
Tibetans last March.

The series of protests will last for Mr Wen’s entire visit. The Chinese
leader is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly today,
meet US President George W Bush and give an interview to CNN.

Tibetans have accused China’s leadership of trying to cover up the
ongoing clampdown inside Tibet by blocking tourists and international
media from travelling to the region, claiming that the situation on the
ground is “normalised.”

“Wen Jiabao is the Chinese leadership's master spin doctor,” said Lhadon
Tethong, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet. “The Premier
is charged with presenting a kinder, gentler face of the Chinese
government, but all the spin in the world can't hide the ugly reality of
China's extreme hard-line policies in Tibet that are designed to silence
anyone who dares to speak out for human rights and freedom.”

Tibet campaigners want the Chinese government to engage in substantive
negotiations with the Tibetan government-in-exile. They have also called
for the immediate release of Tibetans detained during the March
protests, including Tibetan filmmakers Dhondup Wangchen and Golog Jigme
who were arrested for daring to make a documentary about the plight of
the Tibetan people under the Chinese yoke and their true feelings about
the Beijing Olympics.

Other organisations like Free Church for China and the Coalition for
Citizen’s Rights have organised another demonstration for tomorrow
across from the UN building and are putting on a photo and art exhibit
on human rights.

In addition to demanding the release of many clergymen and civilians,
these groups blame China for the lack of transparency in the areas of
food quality (see milk scandal) and building standards (see the scandal
of schools that collapsed during the recent Sichuan earthquake). (NC)
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