Proud of protests

Another day and another Briton is arrested in Beijing for mounting a pro-Tibet demonstration.  

Philip Kirk, along with Australian-Canadian Nicole Rycroft, scaled a hoarding outside the China Central Television building. Worringly, this time the authorities held the two protestors rather than simply packing them off home but hopefully that won’t last long

When he does get back to St Albans Philip will know that his mother is proud of him because that’s what she’s told the media. I like that. I was impressed when the parents of one of Britons who protested just before the Games also said they were proud of their daughter and I have made a mental note to be similarly supportive should my son or daughter ever get arrested doing this sort of thing. They are a little young at the moment – just two – but one of these days we’re going to exercise our right to protest and take part in an Amnesty demonstration as a family.  

We are free to do that in the UK but wouldn’t be if we lived in China. I suppose I would also have fallen foul of the country’s one child policy by having twins, but let’s not get into that right now.  

After telling the BBC how proud she was of her son for highlighting the plight of the Tibetan people, Philip Kirk’s mum went on to say: "China seems so normal when you watch the Olympics on television, but you can't say what you want to say there."   

Absolutely. And even when you try and go through the right channels you can end up in trouble. The BBC also reports how the three parks set aside by China during the Olympics to allow people to demonstrate are empty and those who apply for permission to protest are even finding themselves arrested.  

One of those detained is Zhang Wei, who was held after applying to stage a protest about her family's forced eviction from their home. 

Rather than a young son or daughter out to change the world for the better this was a mother trying to protect her family. I’m sure they are proud of her.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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