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Tibet

To Canada for His Holiness with no love from China

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama looks on during a function to commemorate the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China’s occupation of Tibet, at the Tsuglakhang Temple in Dharamsala, India, Wednesday, March 10, 2004. The Chinese occupation began in 1951. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

CBC News

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has been much in the news of late. This month his worldwide tour brings him here to Canada, where he is to meet the prime minister, a week after the United States bestowed on him the Congressional Gold Medal. There’s even a new movie out called 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama.

A year ago, Parliament named the Tibetan spiritual leader an honorary Canadian citizen, a rare acknowledgement with international repercussions.

Each time another honour is conferred on the cherubic 72-year-old spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, China, which regards him as a dangerous separatist, gets hopping mad, threatening all manner of rancorous retribution against those who praise him.

The Dalai Lama is on a world tour and this weekend visits Ottawa to speak to thousands of the faithful at Lansdowne Park. He will also have an audience with Prime Minister Stephen Harper before he heads to Toronto to speak to thousands more at the Rogers Centre.

When news leaked that Harper would meet the revered Tibetan Buddhist, Lu Shumin, China’s ambassador to Canada, warned that this would hurt relations between Canada and China. No details of where the meeting will be have been released, but when the Dalai Lama met with former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004, it was at the private residence of Ottawa’s Roman Catholic archbishop.

Chinese Olympics

Many interpret the Dalai Lama’s recent high-profile trips as a way to pressure China into taking a more conciliatory attitude toward Tibet, cognizant of the fact that China is especially sensitive to world opinion as it prepares for the Beijing Olympics next summer.

This interpretation will gain more credence on Sunday, when the “surprise” master of ceremonies at the gathering in Ottawa is expected to be none other than Canadian Olympic swimming champion Mark Tewksbury.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Dhondrub on July 6, 1935, to a peasant family in Taktser, a small village in northeast Tibet. He has lived in exile since 1959 in the Indian town of Dharamsala, the base of Tibet’s government-in-exile. Some 120,000 Tibetans have chosen to live in Dharamsala to be with their leader.

In 1937, when Lhamo Dhondrub was two years old, the Tibetan government appointed a mission to find a successor to the 13th Dalai Lama, who died in 1933. The mission found the boy in Taktser and determined he was the reincarnation of previous dalai lamas.

Tibet and China

He was installed as Dalai Lama on Feb. 22, 1940, taking the full name Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. Regents ruled Tibet while the boy began his education and training as a monk. In 1950, at 15, he was named head of state and government soon after 80,000 soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army entered Tibet.

In 1951, the Chinese army occupied Lhasa and forced Tibet to sign a treaty with Beijing recognizing China’s rule. Under the treaty, Tibet became a “national autonomous region” ruled by a Chinese commission, with the Dalai Lama as a figurehead ruler.

China began to suppress traditional Buddhist monasticism and much of the culture of Tibet. The young Dalai Lama was thrown into the midst of this crisis, and in 1954, he went to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.

In March 1959, the People’s Liberation Army invited the Dalai Lama to visit an army camp outside the capital, Lhasa. Rumours spread through the city that the Chinese planned to kidnap and imprison the Dalai Lama.

Escape to India

On March 10, 1959, there was a huge demonstration in the Tibetan capital demanding the Chinese leave Tibet. The Chinese army attacked. On March 17, the Chinese began firing mortars at the Dalai Lama’s palace. The Dalai Lama disguised himself as an ordinary Tibetan soldier, slipped out of the palace and, with a band of loyalists, began a 500-kilometre trek through the Himalayas to India.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru allowed the Dalai Lama to settle in Dharamsala and establish a Tibetan government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama appeared before the United Nations in 1959, 1961 and 1965, calling on the Chinese to allow self-determination for Tibet. In 1963, the exiled leader proposed a democratic constitution for Tibet, combining Buddhist principles with Western concepts of human rights.

In 1966, China proclaimed Tibet as one the People’s Republic’s “internal autonomous regions.” In the late 1960s, Tibet was one of the main victims of the Red Guards, who attacked monks and nuns, wrecked monasteries and destroyed priceless religious relics. The government of Mao Zedong banned the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, a ban that lasted until 1976.

Nobel laureate

The Dalai Lama’s attempts to influence China met with little success. Tibet is still considered an autonomous region within the People’s Republic, but in the past 20 years many Chinese colonists have moved to Tibet, and now there are seven million Chinese and six million Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for advocating “peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.”


No 'political agenda' in meeting with PM: Dalai Lama

CBC News

The Dalai Lama said he will express reservations about Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan if the topic comes up during his historic meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

But he added that his meeting has no “particular political agenda.”

“My main interest or main commitment is promotion of human values, promotion of religious harmony,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in Ottawa, hours before his scheduled meeting with Harper.

Asked about Canada’s role in Afghanistan, the Dalai Lama said he believes “non-violence is the best way [to] solve problems.”

“Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more [complications], he said.

The Dalai Lama said he didn’t attach any significance to meeting the prime minister on Parliament Hill, a move likely to cause friction with China.

For the first time, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader will greet the Canadian prime minister in that venue, lending the meeting a politically charged air compared to previous sessions with Canadian politicians.

The Dalai Lama said he’s no expert on diplomatic formalities.

“I don’t care. The important [thing] is meeting [the] person, that I consider is the most important. So whether meeting prime minister in [his] office or private house doesn’t matter so long as meeting with person face to face.”

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

When former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin met the Dalai Lama three years ago, for example, the encounter took place on what was described as politically neutral territory — the home of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa.

Tenzin Gyatso, a 72-year-old Buddhist monk who is the 14th Dalai Lama, arrived in Canada Sunday and addressed a crowd of 8,000 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

His message at the sold-out venue was one of compassion.

“We all want happiness, happy life, successful life.”

But he also took time to express “reservations” about some American policies, including the war in Iraq. The Dalai Lama met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington last week.

Bush met with him privately in the White House. The monk also received Congress’s highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

The U.S. president and Harper join a growing group of Western leaders who have chosen to greet the Dalai Lama in official venues despite criticism from China.

China says the Dalai Lama is a separatist political leader and considers it interference in China’s domestic affairs whenever a world leader is seen to be offering support.

But Jason Kenney, the federal secretary of state for multiculturalism, said he is more concerned about what Canadians think than the Chinese.

‘Important world figure’

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“As public opinion polls have indicated, the vast majority of Canadians believe the prime minister should meet with the Dalai Lama. He is an important world figure, a spiritual leader,” said Kenney.

Some experts warn, however, that the government should tread carefully during this visit because China is an emerging economic powerhouse and an increasingly important trading partner for Canada.

“Canada-China relations is somehow cool, if not the lowest point since the 1970s,” said Wenran Jiang, acting director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute.

He said if the goal is to help Tibetans, Canada should have a more balanced approach when dealing with China — using moral statements rather than “political theatre” meant to grab votes.

China invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Chinese Revolution. The Dalai Lama has lived in exiled since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to travel to Toronto on Tuesday, where he will hold a public talk Wednesday night on “The Art of Happiness” at Rogers Centre.


No ‘political agenda’ in meeting with PM: Dalai Lama

CBC News

The Dalai Lama said he will express reservations about Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan if the topic comes up during his historic meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

But he added that his meeting has no “particular political agenda.”

“My main interest or main commitment is promotion of human values, promotion of religious harmony,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in Ottawa, hours before his scheduled meeting with Harper.

Asked about Canada’s role in Afghanistan, the Dalai Lama said he believes “non-violence is the best way [to] solve problems.”

“Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more [complications], he said.

The Dalai Lama said he didn’t attach any significance to meeting the prime minister on Parliament Hill, a move likely to cause friction with China.

For the first time, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader will greet the Canadian prime minister in that venue, lending the meeting a politically charged air compared to previous sessions with Canadian politicians.

The Dalai Lama said he’s no expert on diplomatic formalities.

“I don’t care. The important [thing] is meeting [the] person, that I consider is the most important. So whether meeting prime minister in [his] office or private house doesn’t matter so long as meeting with person face to face.”

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

When former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin met the Dalai Lama three years ago, for example, the encounter took place on what was described as politically neutral territory — the home of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa.

Tenzin Gyatso, a 72-year-old Buddhist monk who is the 14th Dalai Lama, arrived in Canada Sunday and addressed a crowd of 8,000 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

His message at the sold-out venue was one of compassion.

“We all want happiness, happy life, successful life.”

But he also took time to express “reservations” about some American policies, including the war in Iraq. The Dalai Lama met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington last week.

Bush met with him privately in the White House. The monk also received Congress’s highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

The U.S. president and Harper join a growing group of Western leaders who have chosen to greet the Dalai Lama in official venues despite criticism from China.

China says the Dalai Lama is a separatist political leader and considers it interference in China’s domestic affairs whenever a world leader is seen to be offering support.

But Jason Kenney, the federal secretary of state for multiculturalism, said he is more concerned about what Canadians think than the Chinese.

‘Important world figure’

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“As public opinion polls have indicated, the vast majority of Canadians believe the prime minister should meet with the Dalai Lama. He is an important world figure, a spiritual leader,” said Kenney.

Some experts warn, however, that the government should tread carefully during this visit because China is an emerging economic powerhouse and an increasingly important trading partner for Canada.

“Canada-China relations is somehow cool, if not the lowest point since the 1970s,” said Wenran Jiang, acting director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute.

He said if the goal is to help Tibetans, Canada should have a more balanced approach when dealing with China — using moral statements rather than “political theatre” meant to grab votes.

China invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Chinese Revolution. The Dalai Lama has lived in exiled since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to travel to Toronto on Tuesday, where he will hold a public talk Wednesday night on “The Art of Happiness” at Rogers Centre.


Does the Dalai Lama Still Matter?

dalai-lama-01.jpg

By AUSTIN RAMZY/BEIJING Wed Oct 17, 2:15 AM ET

“Do you write about the Dalai Lama?” It was an unexpected question, coming from a Chinese PR official walking me out of an entirely unrelated interview. It’s not often that the name of the Tibetan spiritual leader is raised in China, and I assumed that what I would hear next was some version of the official Chinese line, painting the Dalai Lama as a swindler who wants to divide China. But I was surprised again. “I respect the Dalai Lama very much,” the person said. The Dalai Lama is in the news again, in part because he’s about to be awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal on Capitol Hill in a ceremony to be attended by President George W. Bush – much to China’s chagrin.

Since he fled Tibet almost a half century ago, the Dalai Lama has become an internationally recognized figure, won the Nobel Peace Prize and made the plight of his people a cause celebre. But his goal of an autonomous Tibet seems further from being realized now than it ever has been. Not only does Beijing harshly crack down on anyone who pushes for a freer Tibet, but it is using China’s rapidly growing economy to bind the region ever closer. In 2006, Beijing opened a rail connection to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, and 1.5 million passengers have ridden it to Tibet since then. Luxury hotels are opening up in the Tibetan capital to handle the influx. A booming Chinese quarter with discos and department stores give parts of the city the feel of a generic mainland boomtown, and it’s easier to find a Sichuan restaurant than it is to find authentic Tibetan food.

Given the changes that are unfolding in Tibet now, it’s worth wondering whether the Dalai Lama really matters any more. Beijing announced earlier this year that it will have the final say on the naming of his reincarnation, and the idea of an atheist, authoritarian government holding final say in a religious matter elicited condemnation in the West. Meetings in July between his representatives and Chinese authorities aimed at improving dialogue between the two sides produced no concrete results. State-run Chinese news organs have given heavy play in recent days to stories claiming that the Dalai Lama is a supporter of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and a betrayer of Buddhism.

Beijing also seeks to marginalize him abroad. After German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Dalai Lama last month, Chinese government representatives canceled a series of meetings with German officials, including a discussion on human rights planned for December. The news that President George W. Bush will meet with the Dalai Lama on Tuesday, and will, along with First Lady Laura Bush, attend a ceremony on Wednesday at which the U.S. Congress will present the Dalai Lama with the nation’s highest civilian honor, prompted an angry response from Beijing. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said, “The Chinese Government strongly opposes the U.S. Congress giving the Dalai Lama a so-called award.”

Despite China‘s importance as a trading partner, and as a positive diplomatic force on issues such as North Korea’s nuclear program, Bush seems willing to risk irritating Beijing to honor the Dalai Lama. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, “We would hope that the Chinese leader would get to know the Dalai Lama as the President sees him, as a spiritual leader and someone who wants peace.” That’s not going to happen any time soon. But Bush has made it clear to the Chinese that he respects the Dalai Lama. And while the Chinese government may loathe the Tibetan spiritual leader, their defensiveness in recent weeks show that in their own way they respect him too.

View this article on Time.com


Temporal Shift …

montreal-sky-3.jpg

Hello, my name is Jeremy and I am a Graduate Student in the Department of Theology at Concordia University… Try that one on for size…

Today was a big day … My first day of school as a Graduate Student. The beginning of the Fall semester is always fraught with drama long lines and insanity. This morning brought with it some sad memory, as my Monday-Wednesday morning class is in the Mother House in the West end of the house which has been transformed from living quarters of former nuns to classrooms and offices. I wanted to go visit the chapel this morning and spend some time in prayer, but that wasn’t in the cards today.

Christian Origins is my first class of the week, and it seems, because of certain technical problems, [read:no internet connections or electronic availability] in the room we are using, means a room change is in the offing soon. I saw some familiar faces from my summer as an independent student.

Thank God that none of the witches from the religion department are in any of my theology classes! There IS a God!!!

I took the afternoon to do some power shopping for books at the Diocesan Book Store in the core after class, and I even treated myself to a BK Lunch, Woo Hoo!! The Eaton Centre food court is really interesting at lunch time lots to see…

The Textbook for Christian Origins, Theo: 206 is called The Shaping of Christianity, and can be purchased at the Diocesan Bookstore at Place Cathedral at the McGill Metro. The book ran me $33.87.

I came home from my journey to the “Core” and took a short power nap before my evening class, hubby decided to join me for a nap… [he just can’t nap by himself when I am home] … I had 3 hours to nap, and I was in the middle of this fantastic adventure dream, it was action packed and I was really into it, when the alarm clock went off at 5:15 and it startled me so bad and I was so groggy that I could not hold onto the visual to write anything about it… I know I was in a town with a above ground subway system, it was dark and I was running all over the place. So I washed up and left for class and I couldn’t raise the dream in the light, I hate when that happens…

This evening I went to my Theology 204 with Fr. Ray was quite interesting. I saw many of the same faces that were in my morning Christian Origins class, which was great because this class is a lot smaller – with about 45 students in a smaller intimate lecture room. I think it is going to be a great semester…

The University Book Store also has the course packs for Theo: 204 Christian Ethics with Fr. Ray. The texts books are available and are on reserve in the library.

We had some really great discussion, and it is really nice to have Fr. Ray teaching the course, since he is one of my spiritual advisers, on the Catholic side. I told him that I had one foot in the religion of my family [Catholicism] and one foot in the Anglican Church, having been given a green light by Bishop Barry. So now Fr. Ray calls me the Anglo-Catholic. I am hoping that I reach some place new in my spiritual journey.

We are going to play Word Association now:

Your three words are:

Ethics — Morals — Christian

We talked about Religious Studies being a study in culture, society, history and tradition and Theology having a different Methodology, it is faith seeking understanding. Will we agree on all issues in Theology, probably not. Especially with a GAY, HIV+, Married, Catholic Queer in the classroom. This should be an interesting semester. I can look into my crystal ball and see much discussion and choppy waters ahead.

We all introduced ourselves in class and shared our majors and reasons for taking that class, many of us are in Core Studies for Theology, though, many of the students are from many other departments like Psychology [YAWN] Applied Human Sciences [Double YAWN] and others… If today’s discussions were indicative of what’s to come, this class should be incredibly enjoyable because of the varied beliefs, opinions and ages of students in the class. There are a few Graduate and Master’s students in the class, which is really cool…

Tomorrow should be even better with Religions of Tibet. I have high hopes for this class because I have been studying Buddhism and other Eastern Religions over the past four years, last academic year I took Buddhism and Jainism [at the same time] which was a real challenge. I did better in Jainism because it was more writing and academic study into a tradition that is labor intensive, because of the scarcity of primary source material. I flubbed on my Buddhism final exam, which hurt my grade. I hate huge multiple choice exams with very little writing!!! I perform better when I write.

See I did learn something in University! I learned how to write Good Essays and I learned how to write academically sound papers. It took me four years, but I was successful in my writing career. Writing here as well, has enhanced my academic writing because I can work out my ideas here before I add them to a paper.

In The Montreal News:

main_casket.jpg

The Strike at the Notre Dame de Neige cemetery is OVER!! Thank Bloody Christ, it is about time – for Pete’s sake! Now gravediggers go back to work on Monday and they have over Seven Hundred and Fifty Caskets to bury, that have been in cold storage for Months!!

I talked to Fr. Ray about this on the way home tonight, we walked to the Major Seminary where he was parked just up the hill from home, The Bishop of Montreal got involved to try to end the strike, we all admit he was a little late with his word, but it seems to have worked! The Religious Authority has some sway over our community thank God for that!

So we are at 1042 words… Have I gone on too long here???

Ok that’s all for tonight. More tomorrow from the world of Tibet…

Stay Tuned…

Oh, I forgot to mention that I am listed as an ALUMNI Blogger on the Concordia University Website!! Very Kewl!! We are also listed on the Religio Scholasticus website as well. I am really grateful for the support of my peers at Religio and as well from the University.

 


Skool Daze …

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Today was a busy and exciting day for students across Montreal, as I am sure, in many other cities across Canada. It is Frosh week here in Montreal. Students are moving into dorms and the stores all over the downtown core are busy.

We spent the afternoon shopping like mad women. I started at skool to buy textbooks which are never cheap, but this semester a few of my books I was able to buy used which saved me a chunk of cash.

Theo 204/AA Christian Ethics:

1. Living with Other People – Melchin
2. Reason Informed by Faith – Gula
3.  Course  Pack – not available yet

Reli 398P/AA Religions of Tibet:

1. Religions of Tibet – Samuel
2. Tibetan Civilization – Stein
3. Religions of Tibet in Practice – Lopez

Theo 206/A – XT Origins:
Texts not available yet…

I noticed that there were many Holocaust texts on the shelves so I found a new copy of “Night” by Elie Wiesel, Elie is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I have wanted to read this text to put into my collection of Holocaust writings on my bookshelf, since I took Holocaust Studies last fall.

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Hubby and I set out for a shopping trip to Alexis Nihon Plaza, which is pictured above, the mall is just up the street from home. I wanted to get some new clothes, since we’ve been wearing the same duds for months. I have to say that Zellers is a great store – which is where we get a lot of clothing for the year. $85.00 bought us 5 new shirts in assorted colors and prints, which was fine with me. We also needed folders, pens and paper.

Don’t you love – back to skool shopping?

We bought a new printer for our computer, The HP Desk Jet 4160 model. It is sleek and quiet and really nice. It has all these great printer capabilities with bells and whistles. It came with an extended warranty which was on sale, all in total the printer cost $70.00.

We have all that we need for skool now, hubby still needs to get some books, and next week classes begin. I have resigned from The Common Ground and shut down the blog, because I’m not going to deal with school girl drama. So that’s that for today. Maybe I will write some more later tonight, I haven’t done my reads yet today.


China frees 3 Canadian activists after Tibet protest

CBC.ca

Canadians, all from British Columbia, were demanding China pull out of Tibet

Three Canadians arrested by Chinese police following a protest at the Great Wall against China’s presence in Tibet have been released.

Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.

Melanie Raoul of Vancouver was arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)

The British Columbian activists — Lhadon Tethong, Sam Price and Melanie Raoul — left China after their release on Wednesday and flew into Hong Kong.

“It was draining, exhausting, psychologically traumatizing, although we weren’t physically hurt,” Raoul, 25, told CBC News from Hong Kong.
bc-070807-tibet-sign.jpg

Raoul and Price, both of Vancouver, were arrested Tuesday after they unfurled a 42-square-metre banner reading “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008” in English and Chinese from the Great Wall.

The banner adds three words — “Free Tibet 2008” — to the official slogan of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which began their one-year countdown on Tuesday.

Tethong, 31, was arrested Wednesday. She was not involved in the Great Wall protest, but she spent her time in China writing a blog and posting videos and photos online about what the group calls China’s “propaganda campaign” leading up to next year’s Olympic Games.

Five other activists — two from the U.K and three from the United States — were also arrested and released.

All the activists are part of Students for a Free Tibet, a New York-based group for which Tethong serves as executive director.

Tethong said the group knew their actions on the Great Wall weren’t legal and that arrests were a possibility.

Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.

Lhadon Tethong, one of three Canadian protesters released by Chinese authorities, is seen at a Buddhist temple in Beijing in this undated photo.
(Beijing Wide Open/Canadian Press)

“We knew that was the most likely scenario, but it’s not like it was the goal of what we were doing,” said Tethong, a Tibetan-Canadian who was born and raised in Victoria, but now lives in New York.

“The goal was to raise the issue.”

“Some people might think that’s sort of extreme, but we would say China violating the fundamental human rights of Tibetans and their own people and the cultural genocide of Tibet is extreme.”

Police surrounded Tethong in front of an Olympic merchandise store in Beijing and demanded to see her passport. They brought her into a police station, where they showed her printouts of her blog.

“They definitely took jabs at me for being Tibetan,” Tethong said. “They were saying I have an an accent like a Chinese and I have blood from China.”

We were scared for her
Tethong’s sister, Deyden Tethong, told CBC News that she and her family were scared while Tethong was in custody.

“It was nerve-racking for us,” Deyden said at 12:15 ET, about 15 minutes after learning that her sister had boarded a plane out of Beijing.

“We were very scared for her, but at the same time she keeps saying, ‘I have a Canadian passport, so I know people are looking out for me.'”

Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.

Sam Price, 32, was one of six activists arrested Tuesday in China.
(Courtesy of Freya Putt)

Deyden said she was surprised her sister was detained, since she was not part of the group of activists on the Great Wall.

“The activists that were taken off the Great Wall, that made sense,” Deyden said. “It was pushing the boundaries and it was illegal, but my sister, all she was doing was blogging about her feelings … and talking about what she saw and what she felt.”

Raoul’s mother, Valerie, said she is excited to see her daughter again.

“We don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Vancouver, but they know they’ll get a really big welcome,” she said.

Harper Promised to Help
The incident drew international attention, with videos of the Great Wall protest posted on YouTube. Prior to news of the activists release, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday that his government was working to gather information.

“We’ll be doing everything we can do to help and of course pointing out to the Chinese government — as we’re entitled to do — that such expressions of opinion are a natural part of the human rights that Canadians do expect in this country,” Harper said.

The Students for a Free Tibet group wants Tibet freed from China and say the Chinese government is using the Games to gain international acceptance.

The group also wants the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to push the case for Tibetan freedom.

China invaded Tibet in 1950, and in 1999 declared it to be an “inseparable part of China.” In 2004, a government policy paper said Tibet had always been part of China, and before the Chinese imposed direct rule, Tibet was “even darker and more backward than medieval Europe.”

With files from the Canadian Press