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China detains third Canadian, a leader of activist group seeking free
5. China detains third Canadian, a leader of activist group seeking free
at 8:43 on August 8, 2007, EST.
(CP) - A third Canadian has been detained in China for protesting
Chinese rule in Tibet, a Tibetan rights group said early Wednesday.
New York-based Students for a Free Tibet says Lhadon Tethong, the
group's Tibetan-Canadian executive director, was detained in Beijing on
Wednesday along with a British colleague, Paul Golding.
A spokesman for the group, Tenzin Dorjee, said from New York that
Tethong, 31, had been travelling in Beijing for the past week.
She was writing on her blog and posting videos and photos online about
what the group calls China's "propaganda campaign" leading up to next
year's Olympic Games.
After a few days, Tethong's blog became popular and plainclothes
security officials began following her, Dorjee said. At first three or
four officers were watching her, but that number rose to about 30 on
"Things got worse and worse and the scrutiny became more heavy by the
day," Dorjee said.
Tethong called her group's office from her cell phone as she was being
detained around 2 p.m. local time.
The detention came just hours before the beginning of China's official
Olympic countdown celebration in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Tens of
thousands are expected to attend, including dignitaries from the
International Olympic Committee.
Dorjee said the crackdown shows China is not yet ready to host the
"On the one hand the Chinese government is trying to proclaim to the
world that they are ready to host the Olympics and China is a modern and
free nation that should stand alongside the rest of the world," he said.
"But even as they say all that and talk about the progress they have
made in freedom and human rights, what actually happens is completely
Tethong was born and raised in Victoria to a Tibetan father and Canadian
Dorjee said Tethong's father spent years working for the administration
of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader now based in India. Tethong
herself has worked for Students for a Free Tibet for eight years and has
been the group's executive director for four.
Tethong's and Golding's detention came a day after two other Canadians
were taken into custody in Beijing.
Melanie Raoul, 25, and Sam Price, 32, both of Vancouver, were among six
protesters who unfurled a 42-square-metre banner from the Great Wall of
China reading "One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008." Neither has been
heard from since their detention.
Raoul and Price also belong to Students for a Free Tibet, which
campaigns for Tibetan independence. It has 650 chapters in 30 countries
around the world and has offices in Vancouver, London and Dharamsala,
The Chinese government says Tibet has been part of China for centuries.
But Chinese influence in the remote Himalayan region had fluctuated over
history. During times when China's central government was weak or
preoccupied with war, it barely had a presence in Tibet.
Many Tibetans say their homeland was essentially an independent state
most of the time. Chinese Communist troops moved into Tibet in 1951, and
the Dalai Lama went into exile. Tibetans regard China's presence as an
occupation and say Beijing rules the region with a heavy hand.
Dorjee said it will likely be a challenge to secure the release of the
"China is a country where there is no rule of law. Everything is
arbitrary and it works only according to the whims of the Chinese
government. Since there's no rule of law, you can't really argue with
them on legal grounds," he said.
The issue of Canadian citizens being detained in China isn't new.
Huseyin Celil, 38, of Burlington, Ont., has been held in China on terror
charges since 2006. He was handed a life sentence in April and an appeal
was turned down last month.
Celil belongs to China's Muslim Uighur minority. China has refused to
recognize Celil's Canadian citizenship.
Dorjee said he hopes the International Olympic Committee will use its
influence to push China to clean up its human rights record.
"We really hope and wish that the IOC would step up to the plate at this
critical time and stand on the right side of history by using the
Olympics as a force for good and as a force to develop and improve human
rights," Dorjee said.
Articles in this Issue:
- Tibetan Canadian Observer detained in Beijing (SFT)
- One World, One Dream, One Big Human Rights Problem (Der Spiegel)
- Unlucky start to Games countdown (Scotsman)
- Great Wall protest (Vancouver Sun)
- China detains third Canadian, a leader of activist group seeking free
- 3rd Canadian detained by China, student group says (CBC)
- Activists arrested in China (The Province)
- Protesters in action as Beijing gets set for one-year countdown to
- Parents worried after 2 Vancouverites reportedly held in China (CBC)
- Canadians detained in China now leaving country, reports say
- Activists Step Up Criticism of China, One Year Before Beijing
- Beijing Olympics can't avoid political issues (New Zealand Herald)
- China: Human-Rights Pressure Increases As Olympic Countdown Begins
- Thousands of Tibetans march in Indian capital against China's rule
in Tibet (AP)
- Tibetans protest 2008 Beijing Olympics (ANI)
- Tibetans to hold massive rally against Chinese government (IANS)
- Indian Tibetans march to shame Olympics host China (Reuters)
- Terror in Tibet
- Sinopec establishes exploration base in Tibet
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