The three Tibetan supporters, Jonathan Stribling-Uss, 27, and Kalaya’an Mendoza, 29, and Cesar Pablo Maxit, 32, are Americans, with Maxit also holding Argentinean citizenship. Each displayed the Tibetan national flag and was taken away by police afterwards.
It is considered a serious crime to display Tibet’s national flag in China. When Stribling-Uss, Mendoza and Maxit arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport Saturday afternoon, they were greeted by friends, supporters and people of the Tibetan community.
“We proudly displayed the Tibetan flag in Beijing yesterday to shine a spotlight on the Chinese government’s lethal military crackdown inside Tibet and its attempt to use the Beijing Olympics to cover up its human rights abuses there,” said Mendoza of New York City.
The three activists walked into the streets near the Chinese National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. There, they each pulled out T-shirts saying “Team Tibet 08” and each of them also pulled out the Tibetan flag.
“After walking into the streets, we were quickly tackled by the six people from the Chinese military,” Stribling-Uss said.
“One of my friend’s feet was broken, and their faces were pushed onto the concrete. Afterwards, we were taken to a nearby park where we were treated poorly,” Stribling-Uss continued. “Our shoe laces were tied together and our shirts were pulled onto our heads.”
“The Chinese government is using the Olympics as a Chinese Opera Mask to make an impression—the Tibetan people and I wanted to be part of an action of unmasking that impression with an action,” said Stribling-Uss.
“I wanted to give a clear statement so that they couldn’t cover up the protest,” he said.
According to Stribling-Uss, during the spring of 2008 in Tibet, 1000 monks were detained and sent to detention camps.
“They’re increasing the tension throughout Tibet as the Olympics go on,” said Stribling-Uss. “It was really horrible and saddening to see the brutality.”
As the Beijing Games continue, Tibetan groups are planning to protest in various parts of the world to call on the Chinese regime to address the crisis is Tibet.