Chinese police detained two foreign protesters Monday after they unfurled a banner in Beijing that read, "No Olympics for China until Tibet is Free," Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports.
The banner hung for 20 minutes in front of the Chinese Ethnic Cultural Center, just hours after China took the Olympic flag from Greece at the 2004 summer games in Athens.
Chinese police took U.S. national Han Shan and Australian Liam Phelan into custody and confiscated their passports, according to Thupten, spokesman for Students for a Free Tibet, which organized the protest.
The demonstration followed a briefing with Beijing-based foreign media, Thupten told RFA’s Tibetan service.
"We are here one day after mayor of Beijing received the Olympic torch in Athens, and over the next four years... the Chinese government has an incredible opportunity to use the Games to increase democracy, freedom of speech, and human rights throughout China and Tibet," Han Shan said in an interview from the site of the protest, before police arrived.
"We've come to Beijing to let the Chinese government know that the next four years will see an increase in the international campaign to achieve rights and freedom for the people of Tibet and the people of China," said Han Shan, representing U.S.-based Students for a Free Tibet. "If the situation in Tibet does not drastically improve, the 2008 Games will be tainted by massive opposition and inevitable Chinese government crackdowns."
Before the Olympic closing ceremonies in Athens, on Aug. 29, Tibetans tried to deliver banners depicting five bullet holes in the shape of the Olympic rings to International Olympic Committee representatives in the Olympic Stadium.
Police officers stopped them and confiscated the banners, activists said.
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