Tibet, Hong Kong activist detained for protests ahead of official Olympic Torch handover for Beijing 2022
DHARAMSALA, 18 Oct: A Tibetan and a Hong Kong activist has been detained by the Greek police for unfurling the Tibetan national flag and Hong Kong’s revolution flag at the Acropolis in the Greek capital.
Tsela Zoksang , an 18-year-old Tibetan-American activist with Students for a Free Tibet, and Joey Siu, a 22-year-old Hong Kong exiled activist were detained by the Greek police early Sunday morning after activist from Tibet and Hong Kong waved the Tibetan flag and Hong Kong’s revolution flag atop the historical monument, chanting “Boycott Beijing 2022” and “Free Tibet”.
The protest, the media reports said was short-lived as the Greek police in their dozens acted fast to stop the activists.
The activists, members of the ‘No Beijing 2022’ cross-movement campaign working with Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Mongolian human rights activists. The coalition has been demanding the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reverse its mistake in awarding Beijing the honour of hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2022.”
The activists reportedly staged the protest just hours ahead of a dress rehearsal for the official Olympic Torch handover to the Beijing 2022 Committee in Greece’s Olympia, site of the ancient Olympus.
“The IOC’s decision to award the Winter Olympics to China is a clear endorsement of the Chinese Communist Party’s extreme and brutal human rights abuses towards Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hongkongers. Tibetans in Tibet, my people, live in daily fear under China’s brutal and illegal occupation; facing arrest and torture for simply calling for basic rights and freedoms,” the group quoted Tsela Zoksang as saying in a statement it issued.
Despite mounting objections and concerns from activists, rights groups human rights campaigners and some lawmakers from across the world, the Olympic Torch will be officially handed over to the Beijing 2022 Committee on Monday.
“The IOC – Thomas Bach and Juan Samaranch – know full well what is happening but they have chosen money over human dignity. So now it is time for the international community, and all people of conscience, to take a stand and boycott Beijing 2022; anything less will be a clear endorsement of China’s genocidal regime,” she added.
Joey Siu has said: “I am a Hong Kong activist and I cannot return to my homeland. Taking this nonviolent direct action today is bittersweet as in Hong Kong, if I protested in this way, I would face unpredictable, lengthy jail time, or worse.”
“As we shared our message today, my heart was with all my friends that are being unjustly persecuted in Hong Kong. By awarding the Chinese government the honour of hosting an Olympic Games yet again, the IOC is sending the world a message that it is ok to turn a blind eye to genocide and crimes against humanity in Hong Kong, Tibet, East Turkestan, and Southern Mongolia. We must stand together to oppose Beijing 2022,” she concluded.
The Games are scheduled to begin on 4 Feb next year, but calls to boycott it continues to get steam over the Chinese government’s ongoing human rights abuses.
The 16th Tibetan parliament in exile unanimously approved a resolution at its 10th session on the 18th of March calling on the Tibetan cabinet, the parliament as well as all governmental and non-governmental Tibetan entities to launch a worldwide campaign of protests against the Beijing Olympics.