Sep 13, 2005

Tibet Activist Arrested in Toronto

A student activist, calling for Tibets independence, locked down and was arrested today, disrupting a gala dinner today organized in honour of Chinese President Hu Jintaos first official visit to Canada
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A student activist, calling for Tibet’s independence, locked down and was arrested inside the Metro Toronto Convention Center today, disrupting a gala dinner today organized in honour of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s first official visit to Canada. The protest aimed to pressure Prime Minister Paul Martin to prioritize Tibetan self-determination over trade relations during his discussions with the Chinese President. Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters rallied outside.

"The situation in Tibet has not improved since Hu Jintao came to power," yelled Chris Schwartz, a 21 year old Concordia student and member of Students for a Free Tibet Canada (SFT). "The Chinese authorities continue to imprison and torture Tibetans for nothing more than the peaceful expression of their religious and political beliefs. Until Tibet is free, Canada must make trade with China contingent on significant human rights improvements in Tibet"

The gala dinner, organized by the Canada China Business Council was intended to foster closer business relations between Canada and China. In recent months, gala dinner sponsors Bombardier and Nortel Communications have been the targets of a campaign by SFT Canada and other Tibet support groups for their involvement in the Chinese Government's controversial China-Tibet railway. This project is the cornerstone of China's so-called “Western Development Plan,” aimed at aggressively developing the occupied territories of Tibet and East Turkestan (Xinjiang) in order to consolidate Chinese government control over the restive regions.

"Canadian companies must stop financing China's ongoing military occupation of Tibet," said Dechen Dolkar, Chair of the SFT Canada Board of Directors. "It's up to the governments and citizens of free countries like Canada to hold China accountable for its continued systematic repression of Tibetans' fundamental right to determine their own future."

Source: CMAQ