Beijing – Five Tibet activists, including a Tibetan woman from Germany, Padma-Dolma Fielitz, 21, staged a protest today at 3:10pm Beijing time just outside the southern entrance of Tiananmen Square.
Padma-Dolma Fielitz and another activist held the Tibetan national flag aloft. As Chinese security officials tried to wrest the flags away, Padma was seen being dragged across the ground. Shortly after, three other activists attempted to unveil a large banner before being removed by Chinese security officials. The banner read: “Tibetans are dying for freedom.” The protest lasted approximately five minutes. All five protesters were detained by the Chinese authorities and their present whereabouts and status are unknown.
The other four activists included two Americans, John Hocevar, 40, of Austin, Texas, and Adam Zenko, 35, of San Francisco, California and two Canadians, Maude Côté, 28, of Quebec, and Steven Erich Andersen, 28, of Alberta. Hocevar is the founding director of Students for a Free Tibet and has been in Beijing since August 4th writing, blogging and providing commentary and analysis to journalists on the Tibet issue (1). Côté is a board member of Students for a Free Tibet Canada.
Before the action, Padma-Dolma said, “There are no words to describe the terrible suffering of my people at this moment – the Chinese government is relentlessly crushing the Tibetan people when they desire nothing more than the restoration of their basic rights and freedom. Tibetans are being killed, silenced and marginalized, our precious religion strangled, as the Chinese government attempts to extinguish all trace of Tibetan identity. I am protesting today to tell the world that, while it stares mesmerized at China’s Olympic Games, my people are being crushed under the boot of Chinese oppression.”
Today’s protest is the first to have included a Tibetan since the Beijing Games began. Fearful of protests, the Chinese government has made it a priority to clear Tibetans out of Beijing in the run up to the Games and have blocked Tibetans living in exile from traveling to China.
At 11:40 am, five Canadian Tibet activists confirmed by phone that they were being detained at their hotel in the Chao-Yang District and questioned in the basement. They have not been heard from since. They are Jasmine Freed, 27; Paul Christopher Baker, 29;
Padma-Dolma Fielitz made this statement as she was being detained:
“Free Tibet! Free Tibet!
People are asking, what’s going on
They know exactly what’s going on
They kidnapped Tibet
They kidnappd truth
They kidnapped the Beijing Olympics to demonstrate their power in front of everyone
They say they don’t want to politicize them
but they do
and they’re trying to keep them locked up
This is my land
This affects my people
and we’re not Chinese”
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