Beijing, August 7 – A 25-year-old Tibetan-American woman was detained in Beijing Airport yesterday at 9:35pm Beijing Standard Time on Wednesday, August 6. Chime Dolkar, a Tibetan exile and current resident of Minnesota, boarded a Northwest flight to Beijing with plans to speak out for Tibetan freedom and challenge the Chinese government to live up to its Olympic promises. But she was detained when she arrived at the airport, interrogated for 12 hours, and eventually deported to the United States. As she was being deported, Dolkar spoke out in support of Tibetan freedom, shouting, "Tibet will be free."
"I feel I must go to Beijing to be a voice for my people because at the Chinese government has invited the world to the Olympics they are ruthlessly crushing Tibetans in the harshest crackdown that we have seen in decades," said Dolkar as she was leaving New York's John F. Kennedy airport Tuesday afternoon.
One of the very few Tibetans actually granted a China visa at this sensitive time, Dolkar wanted to use her freedom as an American to promote the freedom of her beleaguered countrymen in Tibet. Dolkar's visa was revoked days before her departure, but she was determined to try to speak up about Tibet in China, and decided to go ahead with her trip as planned.
"The Chinese government has ruthlessly suppressed even the mildest form of peaceful dissent by Tibetans in Tibet and China in the run-up to the Games, and has barred Tibetan exiles like Chime Dolkar from speaking up in China for freedom and human rights in Tibet," said Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of Students for a Free Tibet. "As the Olympics draw near and criticism of the Chinese leadership's brutal rule in Tibet grows, the efforts of the Chinese authorities to quash all critics is also intensifying."
Chinese authorities had detained and exiled another Tibetan woman and her two American-born babies on July 18. In this case, Kemo, who holds a Chinese passport, was detained for four hours before being exiled and told never to enter China. The reason for her exile was that she had joined pro-Tibet demonstrations in San Francisco and Portland and attended a public talk by the Dalai Lama in Seattle; the Chinese officers brought internet print-outs showing Kemo at these events. Officers then forced her children away from her, kicking her and slapping her one-and-half-year-old son Khawa Tsering Kemo.
Born and raised in India, Chime Dolkar immigrated to the United States at age 12 and attended high school in Minnesota, where she became class president and Homecoming Queen. At St. Cloud University, she was the vice president of the local chapter of Students for a Free Tibet. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Minnesota.
Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director, and Yangchen Lhamo, SFT Board Member:
+1 917-289-0228 (United States)
+44 2070-846-359 (United Kingdom)
+852-3050-9088 (Hong Kong)