DECHAN Pemba, a 30-year-old British citizen living legally in Beijing for the past two years, found out this week how ruthlessly efficient China’s security crackdown ahead of the Olympics can be.
Ms Pemba, a Tibetan by ethnicity, stepped out of her Beijing flat on Tuesday morning and headed for her English-teaching job at a private school. She was surrounded by about eight security agents and within 15 hours was back in London, banned from returning to China for five years.
The security agents detained her for an hour in her flat, confiscated her passport, bank book, mobile phone and the prized Olympic tickets she had won in a lottery open to residents. They refused to let her contact anyone.
She was allowed to throw some belongings in a bag before being taken to the airport in a convoy and put on a plane. Her phone and passport were returned as the plane was about to leave, giving her just minutes to call a friend and British embassy staff, who informed her parents in London.
Asked why she was being deported, the security agents told her: “You ought to know what you’ve done wrong”.
The Age | Link