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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."

Local protests rage as Olympics go on

August 22, 2008

Patrick Arden
Metro New York
August 20, 2008

With the world's attention focused on the Olympic Games, protesters
converged on the Chinese Consulate this week to draw attention to
what they say is Beijing's renewed persecution of religious and ethnic groups.

Protesters march at the Chinese consulate on the Far West Side.
(Photo: aharon rothschild/metro)

A crackdown on Tibetan Buddhists followed the March riots that
embarrassed China just ahead of the Games, said Sonam Wangdue of the
Tibetan Youth Congress.

Every day since March 14, Tibetans have staged demonstrations at the
consulate, but officials have only reacted by snapping photos.

"More than 5,000 people are missing in Tibet," said Wangdue. "All the
young men were taken away before the Olympics, because China was
afraid to show its true colors." Monks were an easy target.

"This Olympics is shameful," Wangdue said. "The international
community knows what's going on, but it's surrendered to the money power."

On the other side of the street, Falun Gong practitioners gathered to
draw attention to yet another crackdown that they say has put 10,000
followers in labor camps and detention centers, most just weeks
before the Olympic Games. The Chinese Consulate did not return calls
for comment.

"On July 16, policemen broke into my parents' apartment and ransacked
their home," said Feather Zhang, a nurse who lives in Flushing. "They
kidnapped my parents because they are Falun Gong practitioners."

Zhang said police finally approached her brother after their mother
had a stroke. He then paid a 10,000 Yuan bribe to secure her release.
"But she was taken again on August 6," Zhang said. "I don't know
where my parents are now."
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