Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Political protests get Americans arrested in China

BoingBoing broke the bad news this morning:

Beijing: Five US activists detained after lighting up "Free Tibet" LED Throwies banner near Olympics site and
[Graffiti Research Lab's] James Powderly detained in Beijing for planning pro-Tibet "L.A.S.E.R. Stencil" art protest

Internationally known artist, technologist and co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab, James Powderly, was detained in Beijing early this morning while preparing to debut a new work and technology of protest, the L.A.S.E.R. Stencil. According to a ?twitter? message received today by Students for a Free Tibet at approximately 5 pm Beijing Standard Time, Powderly had been detained by Chinese authorities at 3 am. His current whereabouts remain unknown.


Students for a Free Tibet has staged six 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.

James and the other protesters who have been arrested deserve our support and respect. Let's hope they all get to come home soon as some other protesters have.

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