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Dzongsar Monastery Journal: A Dance for Tibetan New Year, Then 17 Hours in Custody

The driver of the police car that took us back to Kangding wore a Yankees cap, which he turned backward at one point. The officer in the front seat synced his mobile phone to the police radio and sang along, karaoke style, to a popular rock dirge by Da Zhuang, with lyrics rolling up his screen. “Wo men bu yi yang,” the title and refrain go. “We are different.”

We arrived at a hotel in Kangding after 2 a.m., only to spend nearly an hour arguing with a woman who identified herself as Liu Xiaoli, a representative of the Public Security Bureau.

Her hostility was palpable. At one point, she asked suspiciously how she could know for certain that we had been in police custody since 10 the previous morning, as if the police had not just delivered us to the hotel.

We were allowed to check in, effectively freed, though a guard remained in the lobby for the rest of the short night. The next morning, Ms. Liu and three others piled into a sport utility vehicle and drove us to the airport in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, where we boarded a flight back to Beijing.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Council Information Office did not respond to questions about our detention.

After the correspondents’ club released its report, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, dismissed the complaints detailed in it, saying that the majority of correspondents operated without trouble in China.

“We hope that what you write and what you capture on your cameras,” she said, “will present a China that is real, multidimensional, and comprehensive.”

Source: NYT > World

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