Statement by Dechen Pemba

I have just read the July 10th Xinhua news article which describes me as “a key member of the ethnic separatist “Tibetan Youth Congress”” and states “Dechen also admitted her wrongdoings” and I am completely shocked at these baseless, fabricated allegations. I would like to clearly state here that I am not a member of the Tibetan Youth Congress and I have no association with them.

Since September 2006 I have lived in Beijing either as a full time student or as a part time student and part time English teacher. I held a valid work visa until November 2008 and was deported on July 8th for apparently breaking the laws of the country without being given any further details. While living in China I did not engage in anything that can be construed as anti-China or illegal. The police who escorted me to the airport never asked me to admit to any crimes nor was I asked to sign any documents. I have been promised a copy of my deportation notice but have yet to receive it.

Many aspects of living in China were positive for me, I met many interesting people, both Chinese and Tibetan. I found Beijing to be a vibrant, fast-paced city with an exciting cultural life. However, these positive experiences have been marred by the events of the last few days. It is sad to think of the Olympic Games taking place in a country where resident’s rights are so restricted and people who are living legitimately, pay tax and who possess a work visa can be deported so suddenly.

In the run up to the Olympic Games I am completely amazed at the lengths to which the Chinese government is willing to go in their security crackdown. The circumstances of my deportation have been documented by the media and I am currently at home with my parents in London. My thoughts and utmost concern lie with my Tibetan friends in Beijing who would not have the good fortune to be deported to a foreign country should they fall victim to the paranoid whims of the government. Clearly, any Tibetan who faces a baseless charge or who the government deems necessary to “silence” in the next month or two will face severe punishment.

Dechen Pemba
London, July 10th, 2:15pm GMT

British Tibetan separatist deported from China: FM

BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhua) — China on Thursday confirmed a key member of a Tibetan separatist organization had been deported.

British citizen Dechen Khando Pemba, a key member of the ethnic separatist “Tibetan Youth Congress”, violated the Chinese law while living in Beijing and was expelled from China on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular briefing.

“When the Chinese police looked into her, Dechen also admitted her wrongdoings,” Liu said.

Liu disconnected the link between the case and the tightened Olympic security measures.

“Any one who commits crimes at any time should be investigated and punished.”

He called for the international community to understand and support China’s preventive measures to ensure the security of athletes, coaches, spectators and tourists for the upcoming Olympic games.

Statement by Dechen Pemba

Dear friends,

at 8:55 am (Beijing time) on 8th July 2008, 7 or 8 security staff were waiting for me as i left my apartment. They made me go back into my apartment and hand in my mobile phones to them along with my passport. 2 of these people were filming everything with small video cameras.

I was informed that I had broken the laws of the country and according to those laws had to leave immediately. when I asked exactly why I was being made to leave, I was told that I ought to know what I had done wrong. I was not allowed to contact the British Embassy.

Before being allowed to pack anything my apartment was thoroughly searched and some items such as books about Tibet (some were in Chinese, bought in China) and a T-shirt which had Tibetan writing on it were confiscated. My tickets for Olympics events were also confiscated along with my Bank of China bank book – I was also made to give them my PIN number for that bank account.

6 people escorted me to the airport in a minibus in a convoy with 2 black cars in front and 1 black car behind us. The filming also continued. I was put on the 13:35 Air China flight to London and told I was forbidden to come back to China for 5 years. My phones and passport were handed back to me just as I was boarding the plane – this was all also filmed. It seemed to be a big operation to deport me and I would estimate at least 30 people were involved – and those were just the ones obvious to me that I could count. They were all plain-clothed and I do not know, beyond jingcha, exactly who they were.

Having seen many of my friends being forced to leave China in the recent weeks due to visa problems I thought myself fortunate to have a valid work visa until November 2008. However, this just wasn’t meant to be. As some of you may know, there have been two previous times where security have made themselves known to me since April of this year. I have been promised a copy of my deportation notice, they said that they will give it to whichever of my friends goes to my apartment to pick up the rest of my things. Whether I will ever see this document remains to be seen.

I feel very sad to be leaving my friends behind and worry for the personal safety of many of my Tibetan friends. It is an unfortunate way to  leave a city that I feel a strong connection with having been based there since September 2006. I hope that I can go back one day.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your work – I have enjoyed meeting and talking with all of you and I hope we keep in touch. Should any of you come to London on your travels then do look me up!

With best wishes,

London, 8th July, 9:15pm GMT