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

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