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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

IOC Refuses to Act on Media Freedom in Tibet

June 14, 2008

US Tibet Committee
June 13, 2008
CONTACT:  Wangchuk Shakabpa 212-481-3569


[New York] - The final meeting of the International Olympic
Committee's Executive Board came to a close today with no progress on
concerns raised by Tibetans and Tibet campaigners about lack of media
freedom in Tibet and the negative repercussions of carrying the
Olympic torch through Tibet. The torch is scheduled to enter Tibet
just a few days from now; journalists have been denied access to
Tibetan areas since late March. Tibet support groups urged the IOC
throughout the meeting in Athens to address concerns that the Tibet
leg of the torch relay is encouraging increased repression in the
wake of the recent protests and unrest that swept the region in March
and is likely to provoke protests and another harsh crackdown when it
is carried through Tibetan areas on from June 18th or 19th to 23rd.

"We are shocked that the IOC is blindly insisting on parading the
torch through Tibet when the area is so tense that journalists are
not even being given free access to see what is really going on,"
said Sonam Wangdu, Chairman of US-Tibet Committee (USTC).  "By
failing to remove the torch from Tibet, the IOC is endorsing the
Chinese government's crackdown and media blackout, and provoking more
brutality from Chinese authorities desperate to keep the torch relay
free of protests."

The situation inside Tibet remains critical as protests continue and
thousands remain detained or missing as a result of the crackdown
that has been sweeping across Tibet since March. Tibetans are being
subjected to intimidation and harsh suppression of religious and
other freedoms, as Chinese authorities carry out house-to-house
searches, detentions, "patriotic re-education," and force Tibetans to
engage in other displays of "patriotism." Most recently, on May 28th,
three nuns were arrested and a 21-year-old female protester was fired
on by security forces in eastern Tibet, following at least six
protests by nuns in the area throughout May that resulted in more
than 80 arrests.

"For the IOC to authorize the Olympic torch - a symbol that
supposedly belongs to the people of the world - to be taken through
Tibet without even standing up for media freedom is shameful," said
Wangchuk Shakabpa of USTC. "This year's Olympic Torch represents
suffering and bloodshed to the Tibetan people, and it is disgraceful
that the IOC seems just as eager as the Chinese government to hide
what's happening in Tibet from the outside world by not demanding
that journalists be given unfettered access to the region."

Tibetans and supporters worldwide have been pressuring the 15
individual members of the IOC Executive Board to withdraw
authorization for the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic
Games (BOCOG) to carry the Olympic torch through Tibet, scheduled to
begin June 11th in Gyalthang ("Shangri-la") in Yunnan province, in
the Tibetan area of Kham, and later June 18th or 19th to 23rd,
through Lhasa and cities in the Tibetan area of Amdo, now Qinghai.
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