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April 6, 2008

Iona Liddell, Students for a Free Tibet, +44 (0)7500 3696 24
Karma Churatsang, Tibetan Youth UK, +44 (0)7879 8712 02
Lhadon Tethong, Students for a Free Tibet, +44 (0)776 66989 39

London – Four Tibet independence activists were detained this morning
after two activists abseiled off Westminster Bridge and unfurled a 74
square meter protest banner reading, "One World, One Dream: Free Tibet
2008," mocking China's Olympics slogan "One World, One Dream." The
action took place on the eve of the controversial arrival of China's
Olympic torch relay in London, amidst mounting pressure on the
International Olympic Committee to remove all Tibetan areas from the
relay route. Pema Yoko (25) of Greenwich, Conall Hon (26) originally
from Belfast, Peter Speller (23) of Cambridge, and Dan Burston (22) of
Birmingham were detained for their involvement in the action. Over a
thousand Tibetans and supporters are expected in the streets of London
tomorrow to condemn China's ongoing crackdown on freedom protests inside
Tibet. Reports have just emerged from Tibet that on April 3rd Chinese
paramilitary forces opened fire on a crowd of unarmed monks and
laypeople in southeastern Tibet, killing at least 8 people.

"The Chinese government wants the British public to celebrate China at a
moment when Tibetans are being gunned down by Chinese forces for doing
nothing more than speaking out for freedom," said Pema Yoko, National
Coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet UK, a British born Tibetan and
one of the activists detained. "With Tibetans being rounded up,
brutalized and killed, it is unconscionable for the International
Olympic Committee to allow China to take the Olympic torch through Tibet."

Chinese authorities in Tibet have stated their intention to ensure
stability during the torch relay 'at all costs,' which means increased
militarization of Tibetan areas. According to the Chinese authorities'
own figures, thousands of people have been detained in recent weeks,
with speedy show trials promised before May 1st. China's attempt to
politicize the London leg of the torch relay was heightened this week
when China's ambassador to Britain, Fu Ying announced her participation
in the relay. Also, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is scheduled to
officially receive the torch at 10 Downing Street.

"It is appalling that Gordon Brown plans to receive the Olympic torch
tomorrow. As someone with Chinese and British roots, I feel strongly
that Britain must take a firm stance against China's abuses in Tibet,"
said Conall Hon, member of Students for a Free Tibet and one of the
people to abseil off the bridge. "If the Chinese government wants
acceptance from the international community, it must immediately stop
its baseless attacks on the Dalai Lama and start working toward a
meaningful solution to the Tibetan issue."

China's deadly attack on Tibetans in Tongkor Township (Karze County) in
southeastern Tibet on April 3rd came after Chinese authorities detained
two monks for possessing photos of the Dalai Lama following a raid by
over 3,000-armed police at Tongkor monastery. The police opened fire on
the crowd of over 700 people, nearly half of whom were monks, gathered
to protest the arrests. All Tibetan areas remain closed off to
independent media, but eyewitness reports from all across Tibet describe
horrific beatings, suicide attempts by monks locked inside their
monasteries, house-to-house searches, and large groups of Tibetans being
boarded onto trains at Lhasa's new railway station. As the situation
inside Tibet remains critical, several peaceful protests and actions are
planned for tomorrow's relay here in London.
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