Jailed Americans in China Released
The eight Americans detained for pro-Tibet protests during the Olympic Games have been released today. American officials had been lobbying for their release over the weekend.
Six of the detainees belonged to the group Free Tibet Reporters, and two were members of Students for Free Tibet. Spokespersons for the latter group claim the move was made to avoid bad press during closing ceremonies.
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Following the demands of US officials, eight Americans who were detained during the Olympics were released and deported today, according to a group that supports Tibetan independence.
Chinese authorities sentenced the Americans to 10 days of administrative detention last week, saying the detainees had "disrupted public and social order," which is against Chinese law, and it is "only natural" that they be jailed.
"The protestors were chanting for the independence of Tibet, which has been part of China for centuries," a Chinese Embassy spokesman told ABC News from Washington. "There is no doubt that such activities violate Chinese law."
Six of the Americans were members of the group Free Tibet Reporters. James Powderly, Brian Conley, Jeffrey Rae, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, and Tom Grant were detained August 19th, according to the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Beijing.
On August 21st, two more American were detained, both of them members of Students for a Free Tibet. Jeremy Wells and John Watterberg were detained for hanging a banner near an Olympic venue.