Arrested in China
By ETHAN RIBALKIN
Canada, August 10: This is only the beginning of their pursuit for a free and independent Tibet, said two recently freed Canadians who landed in Vancouver yesterday, after their release by Chinese authorities.
Melanie Raoul and Sam Price were part of a group of six activists detained Tuesday and held for 36 hours after they unfurled a banner on China's Great Wall calling for China to free Tibet.
Although they were not harmed physically, Raoul said the interrogations were emotionally draining.
"All I connect with is [that] Tibetans endure this kind of stress day in and day out under Chinese occupation," she said.
"If I were Tibetan, I would still be in prison. I would be getting tortured and I would probably spend life in prison or [face] death," she said.
Price said the activists repeatedly requested access to embassy officials, but Chinese officials denied such access.
"[Chinese authorities] tried to get us to sign documents in Chinese that could not be verified, but we stuck to our guns and we demanded to see our embassy," Price said.
After landing, Raoul and Price were greeted by relieved family and by Tibetan-Canadians, who gave them flowers and wrapped their necks in katak - a traditional Tibetan garment used as an offering.
Raoul and Price are members of Students for a Free Tibet - one of a number of groups using the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a strategic moment to press China for Tibetan independence.