Four Americans Still Detained After Olympic Protest in Tibet

April 27, 2007 Updated: April 27, 2007

The four Americans, who were arrested after Wednesday's protest in Mount Everest against China's proposal to relay the Olympic torch through Tibet, remained in detention, according to Students for Free Tibet (SFT), an international student network for an independent Tibet.

“We received a text message, around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday that stated the detainees were doing ok. That was a couple of hours after they were detained by the Mount Everest security. After that we have not been able to contact them,” Heather Reddick from SFT in New York told The Epoch Times .

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Beijing is scheduled to discuss China's plan to route the Olympic torch relay through Tibet today, but the activists challenged the Chinese move by staging a demonstration at the Mount Everest base camp on April 25.

The activists, one Tibetan-American and three Americans, were arrested by the Chinese authorities on Wednesday after unfurling a banner with the words, “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008” at Mount Everest's main base camp in Tibet.

Exile Tibetan-American Tenzin Dorjee together with the Americans Kirsten Westby, Laurel Mac Sutherlin and Shannon Service were still detained, according to SFT. Tenzin Dorjee, who wore a T-shirt with the words, “No Torch through Tibet,” became the first known exiled Tibetan to stage a protest inside Tibet.

The protest also coincided with the 18th birthday of Gendhun Choekyi, the Panchen Lama or heir to the Tibet's exiled holy leader, Dalai Lama. Choekyi is currently a political prisoner held by the Chinese communist regime.

SFT has called on China to immediately release the activists.

“If Beijing wants to deserve the honor of hosting the Olympic Games, it must play by the rules of the international community—that includes tolerance of free speech and expression,” said Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of SFT in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Lhadon Tethong said that the Chinese regime exploits the 2008 Olympic Games to conceal the brutality of its occupation of Tibet. He said that the International Olympic Committee has “no business promoting the Chinese government's political agenda.” He calls on the IOC and Jacques Rogge, specifically, to use their leverage to pressure the Chinese authorities to release the activists.

“Mount Everest is not in China, it's in Tibet, very near where the Chinese border guards shot and killed unarmed Tibetan refugees last September,” added Tethong.

The Chinese regime has so far denied the United States Government officials contact with the detainees and information about them, according to SFT.

“We have reason to believe they have been transported to Chengdu Province, however, these facts have not as yet been confirmed by the American Consulate in Chengdu,” says Heather Reddick from SFT in New York. Beijing formally announced the route for the 2008 Olympic torch relay today, saying the flame will be carried to Tibet and to the island of Taiwan, and would go through at least 22 cities throughout the world's five continents, including capitals such as Paris, London and Pyongyang, while also passing through scores of Chinese cities.