Trouble with visa renewal is one thing, but forced deportation is quite another. Foreigners whining about the former should take a look at the recent case of Dechen Pemba, a Brit of Tibetan descent who was detained, driven to the airport, and expelled from the PRC for five years when she walked out of her Beijing apartment last Tuesday. The seven plain clothes policemen who escorted Pemba allowed her only time to pack a bag, refusing to let her call her family or the British embassy until she was sitting on an Air China plane.
While the police refused to give Pemba a reason for their actions at the time, the Chinese foreign exile ministry claimed Thursday night that she was a member of the radical Tibetan Youth Congress and had admitted to “activities against Chinese laws.”
Pemba maintains that the allegations are false and that she was persecuted because of her Tibetan heritage. She said that during her two years in Beijing as an English teacher she was not involved in any pro-Tibet activism, though she did work for the International Campaign for Tibet in Germany three years ago.
The deportation is one of the more extreme examples of the pre-Olympic clampdown that includes prohibiting non-Beijing registered vehicles from entering the city, visa renewal woes and kicking out thousands of migrant workers from the capital.
Nicholas Bequelin, Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, said such instant expulsions were almost unprecedented in the case of someone who had been a long-term resident.
“This is absolutely exceptional,” he said. “I can’t remember any other case in which someone was deported so speedily. The United Kingdom must respond to this.”
How exactly England plans to address the situation is still unclear, but the British Embassy said staff in London plan to interview Pemba soon and then decide on an appropriate response.
Photo from 18dao.cn