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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Chinese bar two pro-Tibet Canadians from Hong Kong

May 1, 2008

Jorge Barrera
National Post
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two Canadians were among four activists barred from entering Hong Kong
Tuesday as China prepared to welcome the Olympic torch and begin its
100-day countdown to the start of the Beijing Olympics.

Former Vancouver resident Kate Woznow, 28, said Chinese immigration
officials rejected her entry and put her on an airplane back to New York
City five hours after she landed in Hong Kong. Woznow said Tsering Lama,
24, a Nepalese-born Tibetan from Toronto, was also stopped from entering
Hong Kong and sent on a flight back to Canada.

"It has been a crazy 36-hour whirlwind," said Woznow in a telephone
interview with Canwest News Service early Wednesday morning after
landing in New York at around midnight local time.

A member of the Free Tibet Campaign group and the general secretary of
Independent Chinese Pen Centre were also prevented from entering the
territory the same day.

Woznow, a director with Students for a Free Tibet, said she and Lama
planned to take part in a Hong Kong news conference Thursday to
highlight the ongoing situation inside Tibet and Chinese regions with
large ethnic Tibetan populations. The Edmonton-born University of
British Columbia graduate said she believes Chinese immigration
authorities turned them away at the gate because of their pro-Tibet

"They are actively scanning for any Tibet activists or human rights
people, anyone travelling there to speak about these issues," said
Woznow. "They were basically screening passengers without questioning
them that thoroughly. They did not get into details about what I was
doing there."

Woznow said an official at the airport's immigration counter looked at
her passport, filled out a "restricted card," and called another
official over who escorted her to a nearby interrogation room. She said
the questioning took three hours but remained general in nature and her
interrogator often left the room between queries.

"I wasn't going to lie to them. I was going to be honest about what I
was doing there," she said.

Woznow, who now lives in New York, had not been in contact with Lama but
found out through her organization that the Toronto resident, who landed
in Hong Kong two hours after Woznow, was also put through the same
process and sent back to Toronto.

A spokeswoman for Hong Kong's immigration department would not comment
on individual cases, adding it had "the responsibility to uphold
effective immigration control so as to ensure Hong Kong's public interest."

The Olympic torch landed in Hong Kong from Hanoi Wednesday and was
carried across a red carpet lined by flag-waving children and a band. It
was then taken to a secure location until Friday's planned run through
the former British colony and financial hub. Friday's run was the last
chance for pro-Tibet activists to make a statement before the torch
begins its trip through the Chinese mainland, with a stop on Mount
Everest. It is scheduled to reach Beijing for the Aug. 8 Olympic opening

Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of Students for a Free Tibet, said it
would be "extremely hard" to stage demonstrations in Hong Kong in the
current climate.

"There are a few Tibetans in Hong Kong and lots of pro-human rights
people living there and they may manage to do something," he said.

Woznow and Lama were to participate in a news conference with Free Tibet
Campaign's Matt Whitticase, who was also blocked from entering the
country. Woznow said they planned to shed light on Chinese actions
against Tibetans since the flaring of violent and widespread protests.

Woznow said witness accounts from inside the territory claim people are
disappearing after midnight raids on homes, monasteries and nunneries.
She said Chinese authorities are using food as a weapon against the
monasteries by limiting supplies.

"Authorities are going through and grabbing whoever they can to try and
pry statements," said Woznow.
Chinese state press said Wednesday that police shot dead an alleged
Tibetan independence "insurgent" in northwest China. It was the first
official admission that authorities killed anyone during the recent unrest.

A policeman was also killed in the gun battle on Monday in a
Tibetan-populated area of Qinghai province, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Tibet's government-in-exile has said more than 200 people have been
killed in a huge Chinese military and police crackdown on protests
against Beijing's rule of the Himalayan region that began on March 10.

With files from Agence France-Presse
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