- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2001

Tibet protest

Two American students were arrested yesterday after climbing onto the Chinese Embassy and unfurling a banner demanding freedom for Tibet.

They said the action was the kickoff of a week of worldwide protests by Students for a Free Tibet against China´s bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

Jason Buhle, 23, of Claremont, Calif., and Bianca Bockman, 20, of New York face misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry.

Before her arrest, Miss Bockman said, "We are here to send a message to the world that until Tibet is free China does not deserve the international distinction of hosting the Olympic Games."

The students said other protests will be held "from Los Angeles to Paris to Norway to India."

Miss Bockman and Mr. Buhle used a ladder to climb onto an overhang over the front door of the embassy on Connecticut Avenue, and unfurled a 17-foot-long banner that said "No China Olympics until Tibet is Free."

Uniformed members of the Secret Service responded to the protest, and D.C. firefighters used another ladder to get the students off the embassy.

"Certainly this is not something we like to see," said Chinese Embassy spokesman Zhang Yuanyuan. "The police did the right thing. They violated the law."

Mr. Zhang rejected charges that China invaded Tibet 50 years ago, insisting that China liberated the Himalayan region.

"We just recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet," he said.

The students noted that China has recently increased repression of democracy advocates in Tibet and accused China of genocide.

"Over 1 million Tibetans have been killed by starvation, torture or execution" since China´s invasion in 1949, they said.

"That´s ludicrous," Mr. Zhang responded.


No more Mr. Lonely

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell says he is not so lonely anymore now that the Senate is moving quickly on diplomatic nominations.

"You have made my life much easier — and far less lonely," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.

The committee, the first hurdle for nominees to clear, has approved 22 ambassadors and State Department officials. Mr. Powell said 26 more nominations have been sent to the committee.

"Nobody knows better than the members of this committee how our embassies depend on having these diplomats on the ground doing the people´s business," he said.


Here´s another one

President Bush yesterday added to the list of diplomatic nominations for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to consider.

The White House said he plans to nominate Christopher William Dell to serve as ambassador to Angola.

Mr. Dell, a career Foreign Service officer, has been the senior U.S. diplomat in Pristina, the capital of the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, since February 2000.

He also has served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassies in Bulgaria and Mozambique.


Lithuanian applause

The Lithuanian ambassador this week praised President Bush for emphasizing his support for NATO enlargement on his European trip.

Ambassador Vygaudas Usackas noted that Mr. Bush raised the NATO issue at every stop.

"That speaks volumes for the U.S. commitment," he said in a speech this week to the State Department´s American Legion Post.

"We look to President Bush and the American people to lead the process of completing the unification of Europe through the subsequent enlargement of NATO in 2002 and beyond," he said.

Lithuania hopes to be one of the countries invited to join the alliance at a NATO summit next year.

"The bigger the group of countries ready to join NATO in 2002, the better for the completion of Europe, whole and free," he said.

Mr. Usackas, noting Russia´s objections to expanding the alliance to its borders, said, "An enlarged NATO is not a threat to anyone and membership of the Baltic states is going to help build greater cooperation with their neighbors."

The ambassador also noted that Lithuania is already proving its readiness to serve in the alliance by sending peacekeeping troops to the Balkans.

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