China Deports 10 Olympics Pro-Tibet Activist, Including German | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 25.08.2008
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China Deports 10 Olympics Pro-Tibet Activist, Including German

China has deported all 10 of the pro-Tibet activists it arrested for protesting or helping to organize protests during the Beijing Olympics, including a Tibetan-German.

Pro Tibet activists unfurl a Free Tibet banner and Tibetan flags on top of a Beijing Olympics billboard, next to China Central Television headquarters in Beijing Friday, Aug. 15, 2008.

Actions like the unfurling of a message banner led to detentions

China released the pro-Tibet activists before the end of their 10-day detention, following pressure from the US embassy in Beijing, a US-based Tibet rights group said Monday.

Police surround pro-Tibet protesters, detained outside the marble Panathenian Stadium where the Olympic flame handover ceremony was held for the Beijing Olympics, in Athens on Sunday, March 30, 2008.

Activists followed the Olympic flame back in March

"All 10 have been deported," said Heather Reddick, an international operations director for the New York-based Students for a Free Tibet. "They were deported at 9:20 a.m. Sunday (Aug. 24) New York time right before the end of the closing ceremony."

All of the detained are from the group. Eight are Americans and they landed Monday in Los Angeles, Reddick said.

"A little worn, but fine"

The other two -- a Tibetan-German and a Briton -- will be arriving home Monday night, Beijing time, she said.

"They're a little worn, but fine," said Reddick, whose group received telephone contact from members of the detained.

Reddick said it was difficult to know whether any of the detained activists was mistreated, since the group has had no communications with the detained since they were arrested last week.

A Free Tibet protester is arrested by two policemen as the Olympic Torch relay leaves Wembley Stadium, London Sunday April 6, 2008.

China hoped to avoid scenes like this in Beijing

"We did have a sense from the little information we have that there was some mistreatment," she said without elaborating.

They were all released short of their extra-judicial sentence.

US express disappointment

Following a series of protests by the activists, China deported most of the 50 foreign pro-Tibet activists who came to China to highlight the suppression of Tibetans during the Olympic Games, but it ordered the 10 activists to 10 days' administrative detention without trial, which is allowed under Chinese law.

The US embassy in Beijing on Saturday issued a statement urging China to release the group immediately, appealing to China to demonstrate respect for human rights and expressing disappointment "that China has not used the occasion of the Olympics to demonstrate greater tolerance and openness."

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