Fri, Mar 10, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Tibetan protester surfaces unscathed in Hong Kong


The Tibetan activist that unfurled a banner near China's parliament supporting a review of the ruling Communist Party's policy on Tibet has escaped to Hong Kong.

"I hope this kind of action shows the Chinese leaders that empty promises cannot stop our pursuit and fight for liberty and the right to determine our future," said Wangpo Tethong, an ethnic Tibetan Swiss national, yesterday after arriving in Hong Kong.

Tethong, 43, on Wednesday unfurled a banner saying, "[Chinese President] Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) you can't stop us," and also the message "2008 -- Free Tibet" in reference to a campaign for the international community to put pressure on China to review its control of Tibet before it hosts the 2008 Olympic Games.

During his brief protest he stood close to a clock counting down the time left until the 2008 games in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, near where the National People's Congress is meeting in an annual session.

He disappeared without being noticed by hundreds of plainclothes, uniformed and paramilitary police patrolling the square.

Tethong is a member of the steering committee of the International Tibet Support Network and has led its campaign on the 2008 games, citing Beijing's "cynicism" in hosting the Olympics while the same regime "annually executes thousands of people and imprisons and tortures others for their political convictions."

He also urged China to release all Tibetan political prisoners and the young Panchen Lama chosen by followers of the Dalai Lama.

The Panchen Lama is traditionally the second-highest leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

China appointed its own Panchen Lama, and the now 15-year-old boy chosen by followers of the Dalai Lama has reportedly been kept under house arrest in Beijing since 1995.

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