Friday, May 20, 2022
1Tibet campaigner glad to be home 127

Tibet campaigner glad to be home 127


by Paul Thornton

HUMAN rights activist Iain Thom has returned to Scotland after his arrest and detention in China.

Mr Thom, 24, said he had been overwhelmed at the worldwide response to his actions in Beijing on Wednesday morning.

The campaigner – who scaled a 120ft lighting pole and unfurled a banner reading “Tibet will be free” – said he had been treated “very even-handedly” by Chinese officials.

Speaking at a press conference, just 30 minutes after he returned to Edinburgh by train, he said: “I’m very tired but happy to be back.”

A keen rock climber, Mr Thom used his skills to climb the pole close to the Olympic Stadium while the world’s media watched on.

After displaying the “Free Tibet” flags, he came down the pole of his own accord and into the custody of waiting police.

And the former Edinburgh University student was held for less than a day before being deported.

Of his detention he said: “We were treated very even-handedly. We were fed and watered and apart from some tough questioning it was okay.

“It was nothing compared to the treatment a Tibetan or even a Chinese citizen would face if they undertook a similar protest.”

The Friends of the Earth worker – originally from Inverness – said he was held for 10 or 12 hours before he knew he would be released.

He said: “They were keen to get us out of the country and I was keen to get home.”

Mr Thom said he was now planning to spend some time with his supporters before travelling back to his home in Muir of Ord, near Inverness, to be reunited with his parents Brian and Betty.

And after catching up on some much-needed rest he insisted he would return to campaigning for the freedom of Tibet.

He said: “I’m happy that we have managed to shine a spotlight on the brutal crackdown in Tibet and China’s attempts to whitewash their human rights record but there is still a lot more to achieve.”

His return coincided with a demonstration march in Edinburgh from the Chinese Consulate to the Scottish Parliament building which he said he would join.

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