August 22, 2008

China Dissappears Free Tibet Participants

Resistance IS NOT Futile!
Bright lights spell out "Free Tibet" on banner in Beijing

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 01:32]

Beijing, August 19 – Five pro-Tibet activists unfurled a banner spelling out “Free Tibet” in English and Chinese in bright blue LED “throwie” lights in Beijing’s Olympic Park tonight. The five were detained by security personnel after displaying the banner for about 20 seconds at 11:48 pm August 19th. Their whereabouts are unknown.
The detained activists are Americans Amy Johnson, 33, Sam Corbin, 24, Liza Smith, 31, Jacob Blumenfeld, 26, and Lauren Valle, 21.
“The Chinese government is desperate to turn the world’s attention away from its abuses in Tibet as the Olympics take place, but the creativity and determination of Tibetans and their supporters has once again ensured that Tibetan voices are heard and seen in Beijing despite the massive security clampdown,” said Tenzin Dorjee, Deputy Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “The Chinese leadership must realize that the only way it can make the issue of Tibet disappear is to acknowledge the demands of the Tibetan people and work with them to bring an end to China’s occupation of Tibet.”
The lights used on the banner are blue 10 mm light-emitting diodes (LEDs) powered by small batteries, commonly known as “throwies.” Throwies are open-source technology attributed to OpenLab and Graffiti Research Lab, [my bold] developed as a means of creating non-destructive graffiti and light displays. This is the first time ever that they have been used on a banner. James Powderly, free speech activist and co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab (GRL), was detained in Beijing early this morning (link).
Students for a Free Tibet has staged seven protests in Beijing over the last two weeks, placing the issue of Tibet’s occupation front and centre as China hosts the Olympic Games. The protests have included a dramatic banner hang near the Bird’s Nest Stadium; a display of Tibetan flags near the Bird’s Nest just before the opening ceremony began; a symbolic die-in at Tiananmen Square; a protest by a Tibetan woman with flags outside Tiananmen Square; a blockade of the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park; and “Free Tibet” banner hang outside the CCTV headquarters. Thirty-seven members and supporters have been detained and deported, not including those detained today.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a network of young people and activists campaigning for Tibetan independence, with 700 chapters in more than 30 countries worldwide. SFT’s international headquarters are in New York, with offices in Toronto, London, and Dharamsala, India.

Need to read it in the NY Times? Here it is:
5 Americans Are Arrested for Protest in Beijing
Published: August 19, 2008
BEIJING — In their latest confrontation with pro-Tibetan protesters during the Olympics, Chinese authorities arrested five Americans on Tuesday after they spelled out “Free Tibet” with blue L.E.D. lights near the National Stadium. Three other people, including a New York artist who fashions giant displays with lasers on buildings, were detained for a separate protest.
[...] On Tuesday, five protesters hoisted a banner near the National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, around 11 p.m. and projected their message in Chinese and English using blue lights. The display lasted just 20 seconds before the police intervened, organizers said. The arrested protesters were Amy Johnson, 33, Sam Corbin, 24, Liza Smith, 31, Jacob Blumenfeld, 26, and Lauren Valle, 21.
Less information was available about the other three detained protesters, who intended to use lasers to spell out “Free Tibet” on a Beijing landmark. Organizers said it was unclear which landmark was to have been used.
The project’s mastermind, James Powderly, 31, is a Brooklyn artist who recently showed his work at an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York entitled “Design and the Elastic Mind.” His wife, Michelle Kempner, said he had planned to show his work at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing but withdrew after learning the contents of the show would be subject to official approval.
She said he had invented a laser stencil the size of a flashlight that can throw beams of light 30 feet high. The device is powered by a small battery. Before arriving in China on Friday, Mr. Powderly told her that his goal was to spell the words “Free Tibet” on a prominent building near Tiananmen Square, she said.
Two video bloggers, Brian Conley, 28, and Jeffrey Rae, 28, were with Mr. Powderly when he was detained. On Tuesday night, he sent a text message to a friend saying he had been held since 3 a.m. on Monday.
“James has always been dedicated to providing tools for free speech,” [my bold]
Ms. Kempner said in a telephone interview. “I’m trying not to think about it because it makes me nervous, but I’m also really confident.” Ms. Tethong of Students for a Free Tibet said other protesters were still in Beijing and that more actions were planned for the coming days. Given the tight security, she said she was pleased with the results so far. “Considering how badly the Chinese leadership doesn’t want Tibet to be talked about, I think it would be considered a success,” she said.
She said she was more concerned with the plight of protesters in Tibet. In recent days, she said, at least three people have reportedly been killed in the city of Ganzi after protesting on the street. She said one woman, Dolma Yungzom, was shot five or six times point blank after she unfurled a banner, though Ms. Tethong provided no evidence.
Fellow Blogger/Reporter mcbrooklyn has more on the artists & a video! See it here:

1 comment:

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