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Beijing Hates Your Opinion

Weird thing: In Beijing, Americans with opinions about Tibet are vanishing into thin air.Five American "Students for a Free Tibet" activists unfurled a cute "Free Tibet" banner made of pretty blue LED lights in Beijing on Tuesday night. It took twenty seconds for the banner to be confiscated and for..




Weird thing: In Beijing, Americans with opinions about Tibet are vanishing into thin air.

Five American "Students for a Free Tibet" activists unfurled a cute "Free Tibet" banner made of pretty blue LED lights in Beijing on Tuesday night. It took twenty seconds for the banner to be confiscated and for Chinese authorities to take them into custody, whatever that means. (In the most immediate sense, it means the US has not heard from them, and has no idea where they're being held or how they're being treated.)

Five citizen journalists (that's what the press calls bloggers now, apparently) have also been missing since Tuesday morning, and are assumed to be in the hands of Beijing authoritarians-ahem, authorities. One of them was New York artist Brian Powderly of the Graffiti Research Lab. And most recently, last night, two more Americans, a British man and a Tibetan man were detained after another protest involving unfurling a flag and saying the phrase "Free Tibet."

And there are and will be more Beijing Desaparecidos. And thinking about how little it takes to tip the scale and end up being hauled away to a foreign prison definitely makes us want to run out of our offices into the street and shout our feelings about political issues into the air. It may be construed as obnoxious, but "God bless the USA," we wouldn't be kidnapped by the police.

Photo: Four of an additional eight people who were detained on Aug. 13, after wearing shirts and obstructing the entrance to the Chinese Ethnic Park near the games.










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