Posted by CODEPINK Staff
Alongside my compatriot at the Anti-Advertising Agency James Powderly, Brian Conley was recently detained and taken into custody in Beijing alongside four other activists and artists. I received this email update forwarded today from Conley's wife, Eowyn Rieke.
My husband, Brian Conley, has dedicated his life to helping oppressed people
communicate their struggles to the world. Since 2004 he has worked on the
video blog Alive in Baghdad which produces and
distributes weekly video segments about daily life in Iraq and the impact of
Brian went to China to document pro-Tibet protests taking place concurrent
with the Olympics. He was not participating in political actions, only
documenting them as any journalist would. On August 19, 2008, he was
arrested by Chinese authorities for this work, along with 5 others working
with Students for a Free Tibet, Jeff Rae (who also works with Alive in
Baghdad), James Powderly, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, and Tom Grant. Under
China's repressive government it is illegal to record expressions of free
speech and work as a journalist without state supervision.
This situation is only one of many examples of the Chinese government's
repression of free speech and activists for Tibet. In most cases the
repression is much more severe, ranging from torture to indefinite detention
to summary execution. In the last few months over 400 people have been
killed in Tibet for their political activities.
Brian would be uncomfortable with the attention being paid to his situation.
He would want us to focus on the people around the world who are truly
struggling – as a result of war, global economics, racism, imperialism and
But we also want Brian home, along with the 5 people detained with him. He
and are I starting a family, and are looking forward to the birth of our
first child in October. Although I am now 31 weeks pregnant, Brian went to
China with my full support. We decided together that we cannot stand aside
while people are tortured, detained and killed because they want a better
life for themselves and their children.
For more information about the detention of Brian Conley and 5 others in
Beijing, please see www.freetibet2008.org . Please consider donating money
to Students for a Free Tibet to support their work. To get regular updates about Brian's situation or to
arrange an interview with me (Eowyn Rieke, Brian's wife), please email
AUGUST 24 UPDATE:
Following protests and pressure from the US government, the detainees—Brian and James among them—are on planes bound for LAX now. Whew!