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China Says Deported British National is Member of Tibetan Separatist Group


China has deported a British woman it says is a key member of a Tibetan separatist organization.

China's Foreign Ministry Thursday confirmed the deportation on Tuesday of Dechen Pemba, who was born in Britain to Tibetan exile parents. A ministry spokesman said she admitted violating unspecified Chinese laws.

But Dechen Pemba told reporters by telephone from London that the charges against her are ridiculous. The 30-year-old Tibetan woman accused the Chinese government of paranoia ahead of the August Olympic Games.

Dechen Pemba says officials detained her at her Beijing apartment Tuesday and told her that she is barred from China for five years.

The British national says the officials would not allow her to contact her embassy before escorting her onto a flight for London.

Dechen Pemba says she has a valid visa to live in China, where she has been teaching English part-time for about two years.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao says Dechen Pemba is a "core" member of the Indian-based Tibetan Youth Congress. Chinese authorities refer to the group as a terrorist organization and accuse it of orchestrating violence in Tibet.

Dechen Pemba previously worked for a pro-Tibet advocacy group in Germany. But she denies any connection with the TYC.

During recent talks in Beijing with envoys of the Dalai Lama, Chinese officials said the Tibetan spiritual leader must curb the "violent terrorist activities" of the TYC if he desires further dialogue.

The Tibetan Youth Congress says it advocates independence for Tibet through non-violent means.

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