Tibetans stage protest at White House
14 February 2012Press Trust of India
WASHINGTON, 14 FEB: Scores of Tibetan activists have held a peaceful protest outside the White House seeking freedom for Tibet as Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping arrived in the USA on a five-day visit.
Asking US President Barack Obama to raise the issue of human rights violation by China in Tibet with the visiting Chinese leader, who is expected to soon become the President of the country, young Tibetan descended to the White House to register their protest against human rights violations in Tibet.
“We are trying to urge Obama to raise the Tibetan issue with Xi and tell him that people of Tibet now really want religious freedom,” said Gonpo Tsewang, a Tibetan leader from New York-New Jersey area.
Gonpo said the Tibetans youth want freedom for Tibet from China, and differ with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, on this issue who favours autonomy within China. “Freedom is our birth right. Tibet has never been a part of China in many centuries,” he said.
Tibetan are planning several demonstrations during Mr Xi's visit to protest against Chinese policies in Tibet, which they blame for a series of self-immolations by ethnic Tibetans over the past year. At least 18 Tibetans have set fire to themselves in the recent months to protest what they see as a lack of rights under Chinese rule.
“As a Tibetan-American born in Tibet, I have to speak out at this critical moment when Xi Jinping and the Chinese government have literally declared war against my people and are shooting peaceful protesters in the streets of Tibet,” said Tenzin Jigme, of the International Tibet Network.
“Xi Jinping has come here seeking American friendship and approval, and President Obama, as the leader of the greatest democracy in the world, has the power to influence Xi and stop this bloody crackdown,” Tenzin said.