'We protest to battle China's lies'

The Delhi Police are always on high alert whenever a senior Chinese government official visits the capital.

 The roads leading to the Chinese embassy in south Delhi’s Chanakyapuri are barricaded and so are the hotels and venues where the Chinese officials stay and are expected to hold meetings.

All the arrangements are made to keep Tibetan protesters away from the Chinese delegations, but the protesters somehow always succeed in carrying out their plans.On September 18, Tibetan activists of Students for a Free Tibet-India had unfurled two banners from an electrical pole and a Delhi Metro construction pillar near Taj Palace Hotel in Chanakyapuri, where Chinese President Xi Jinping was staying during his two day visit to the capital. 

The banners reading ‘Xi: Free Tibet Now’ was dropped as Xi was entering the hotel, in order to directly confront the Chinese leader about the ‘crimes against humanity and the illegal occupation’ of Tibet.   

Dorjee Tseten, Asia Director of Students for a Free Tibet International, says Xi is leading one of the most oppressive military offensive that Tibetans have faced in the past 50 years of China’s occupation of Tibet. 

“Last month, Chinese forces shot and killed five Tibetans who were peacefully protesting the arrest of their village leader in Dema, eastern Tibet. This is just one of many examples of Xi and the Chinese government's brutal rule in Tibet,” Dorjee says. 

He further says that during his visit, Xi was blatantly lying about the crisis in Tibet, while the protesters spoke the truth as entire towns and villages in Tibet are under military lockdown.  “Until Xi ends the occupation in Tibet, China will never truly experience peace, stability or global respect that its leaders so desperately seek,” Dorjee adds. 

One of the activists had also locked himself to the base of an electricity pole with a chain shouting “Tibet’s Independence is India’s Security”. 

Towards the end of Xi’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad Bhavan in central Delhi, Tibetan activists also staged a protest outside the venue. The activists were wearing ‘Free Tibet’ t-shirts and carried Tibetan national flags as they shouted slogans to blame Xi for crimes in Tibet. 

“As a Ladakhi I see China’s bullying tactics at our northern borders almost everyday. Even now during Xi’s visit, 1000 Chinese troops entered Ladakh,” says Spalgon Kanji, a Ladakhi student who was part of the protest near Taj Palace Hotel. 

“The ultimate lasting solution to India’s national security from China’s military expansion will only come through promoting freedom in Tibet,” he adds. 

Tibetans across the country had also urged Modi to advocate for a just resolution to Tibet’s occupation during his meeting with Xi. Over 4,000 people had also signed a petition calling on the Prime Minister to take a bold step in bringing up the crisis in Tibet with Xi. The petition was delivered to Modi’s office in South Block by members of Students for a Free Tibet - India. 

On September 15, Tibetan activists had also displayed a banner at India Gate reading ‘Tibet’s Independence, India’s Security’. “I firmly believe that the ultimate lasting solution to India’s national security lies only in protecting freedom in Tibet,” says Jyotsna George, Campaigns Director of Students for a Free Tibet-India. 

She adds that since Xi came to power, the situation inside Tibet has turned from bad to worse. “Tibet is under one of the most oppressive military occupations of our times.

 Through our protests, we want to dismantle China’s lies and propaganda, and directly communicate to Xi that Tibet is his number one challenge. The sooner he ends the occupation of Tibet, the better it will be for the future of China,” she adds. 

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