ITSN to Hold Peaceful Protest at Olympics Closing
|ITSN members with a campaign banner|
Dharamsala 27 August: There may be a complete silence with no one singing to the tune of Beijing’s glory at the handing-over ceremony of the Olympic flag from Athens to Beijing, the next host of the games. With two days left for the world’s largest sports meet to end, the International Tibet Support Network has launched a peaceful protest at the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympics on Sunday, reports say. Spectators and athletes will be asked to turn their back and remain silent when the Olympic flag will be handed over to Beijing from Athens. Prominent Chinese human rights activists, the World Uighur Congress and international human rights organisations have joined the ITSN in the campaign.
“The people of China certainly deserve the Olympic Games. Regrettably, the Chinese government does not,” Harry Wu, (founder of the Laogai Foundation) was quoted as saying. “It is very important that the world knows that there is a growing coalition of far-sighted Chinese and Tibetans who want to work together for a peaceful future. More important than constructing fancy stadiums in record time is to build a free society and to end repression.”
Meanwhile, an advertisement of the campaign was denied space in three major Greek newspapers. The advertisement was intended to raise public awareness of the human rights situation in Tibet and China, and would have shown 5 bullet holes replacing the Olympic rings. The advertisement would have appealed to people attending the closing ceremony, says Dechen Pemba of the ITSN.
“This peaceful action should be a powerful message to the Chinese government and the members of the IOC.”
The editors of Athens News, Khatimerini and Eleftherotypia had not cited any reason for their refusal to carry the advertisement and were unavailable when contacted.