Pro-Tibet film gets rare Beijing showing

Wed Aug 6, 2008 1:47pm EDT
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - A new documentary made by a pro-Tibet group on what Tibetans think of the Olympics premiered in Beijing Wednesday under a veil of secrecy.

The film, "Leaving Fear Behind," was shown to a small group of foreign reporters in a dingy hotel room in central Beijing, not far from Tiananmen Square.

Security officials did not interrupt the screening but Dechen Pemba, a British Tibetan woman deported from China last month, told Reuters by telephone that a second screening was halted by the hotel, under police instructions.

"Now that the Olympic Games are finally upon us, it's a chance to show how Tibetans feel and what their hopes are," Dechen Pemba said in a videotaped statement.

The film featured a series of interviews with Tibetans talking about how their culture had been trampled on, how they still loved exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and how they viewed the Olympics as having done little to improve their lives.

"Outsiders may think that the Tibetans are treated very well and that they are happy. But the truth is that Tibetans are not free to speak of their suffering," one Tibetan said on the film.

"Even if I had to sacrifice my life for this message to be seen by the Dalai Lama, I agree and welcome this chance," said another.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.   Continued...

<p>A pro-Tibet demonstrator protests in front of the Chinese embassy in Brussels August 6, 2008. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir</p>