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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 06, 2008
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

RAN Condemns Violent Response to Free Tibet Protests

Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) launched a series of peaceful protest actions around the world in the past 24-hours, just before the Olympic torch entered Beijing, to call attention to China’s ongoing brutality in Tibet and the systematic repression of human rights by the Chinese regime. The first of these actions occurred in Beijing, when two activists climbed electrical poles directly in the line of sight of the “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium, and unfurled two banners. One read “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet” and the other said “Tibet Will be Free” in English and “Free Tibet” in Chinese. An ESPN reporter who was photographing the action as it unfolded in Beijing reported on his blog that he was “physically accosted” by angry Chinese citizens and police, who surrounded him, screamed at him for documenting the protest, and pushed and shoved him, despite his shouting “media” and brandishing his press credentials. Alarmingly, the Chinese response in our own backyard was even more violent. SFT staged a non-violent protest at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco this morning, in which three women locked themselves to the entrance of the consulate, bearing a sign that read "Tibetans are Dying for Freedom," while 22-year-old Nyendak Wangden climbed down from the roof of the building and staged a mock hanging, to symbolize the repression of Tibetans by the Chinese government. Things went very wrong when people from inside the consulate suddenly attacked RAN staffer Brihannala (Bria) Morgan, who was supporting Nyendak on the roof, and then allegedly cut Nyendak's climbing rope. Nyendak plummeted 15 feet, landing on her back on a concrete balcony just above the entrance to the building. NBC has a video with shocking footage of the fall, and showing the assault on Bria. The video also shows Bria shouting that “they cut the rope!” as she is being put into a police car. Rainforest Action Network unequivocally condemns this morning's brutal attack by Chinese officials at the San Francisco consulate, and we urge the world community to hold China accountable for its barbaric tactics. We stand in solidarity with Students for a Free Tibet and activists worldwide who are fighting for the freedom of those oppressed by the Chinese government. At the moment, Nyendak is in the hospital with at least a broken wrist and broken finger; the full extent of her injuries is still unclear. We believe that she is about to be transferred to prison, though. Meanwhile, our own beloved Bria has been taken to prison and charged – outrageously – with "harassing a diplomat," even though she was attacked. If you wish to register your outrage about these actions, and regarding China’s brutality towards Tibet and Tibetans, you can join a march at 11 AM tomorrow (August 7th) in San Francisco that will proceed from Civic Center to the Chinese Consulate. For more information, please see: www.studentsforafreetibet.org www.freetibet2008.org

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