|BANNER READ “FREE TIBET” IN ENGLISH AND CHINESE
Beijing – Two pro-Tibet activists hung a banner in front of Chinese state television’s new headquarters early this morning. The activists dropped the banner, which read “Free Tibet” in English and Chinese, over an Olympics billboard reading “Beijing 2008” at 5:45 am Beijing time. Chinese security officials gathered quickly outside the China Central Television (CCTV) building, and after approximately 30 minutes, detained the five protestors. The activists’ whereabouts are currently unknown.
The activists that were detained are Australian-Canadian Nicole Rycroft, 41 and Briton Phil Kirk, 24, the two climbers, and support people Kelly Osborne, 39, Bianca Bockman, 27, Sam Maron, 22, all Americans.
“While the Chinese government has built a gleaming new building for its official mouthpiece and its public relations strategy has become more sophisticated, the propaganda it uses to maintain its iron-fisted control over Tibet remains the same,” said Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “Tibet supporters took action at CCTV today to broadcast a message of truth about the intensifying military crackdown in Tibet and the Tibetan people’s undying resolve to regain their freedom.”
The Chinese government hoped to exploit the Olympics to bolster its image domestically and abroad and to extinguish any debate about human rights or its rule of Tibet. The demonstrations for freedom and human rights by tens of thousands of Tibetans that swept the Tibetan plateau in March and April were intentionally misrepresented in CCTV’s coverage in order to manipulate the Chinese population’s view of the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet. Selective images conveyed on CCTV and other state media outlets portrayed the protests as overwhelmingly violent and motivated by ethnic hatred when in fact the vast majority were peaceful and targeted at symbols of Chinese government control.
Students for a Free Tibet has staged six protests in Beijing over the last ten days, including a dramatic banner hang near the Bird’s Nest Stadium on August 6th; a display of Tibetan flags near the Bird’s Nest just before the opening ceremony began; a symbolic die-in at Tiananmen Square; a protest by a Tibetan woman with flags outside Tiananmen Square; and a blockade of the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park. Thirty-one members and supporters have been detained and deported, not including those detained today.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a network of young people and activists campaigning for Tibetan independence, with 700 chapters in more than 30 countries worldwide. SFT’s international headquarters are in New York, with offices in Toronto, London, and Dharamsala, India.
In Beijing: Kurt Langer, +86 13 681 556 912
In Asia, Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director, and Kate Woznow, Campaigns Director,
+1 917-289-0228 or +44 2070-846-359Watch video here.