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Protests as Chinese premier visits India

Tight security around Tibetan communities

Protests as Chinese premier visits India

Indian police arrest a Tibetan protester outside a hotel in New Delhi (Manan Vatsyayana / AFP)

Swati Deb, New Delhi

May 20, 2013

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Police in New Delhi have cracked down on anti-China protesters during the three-day visit of Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

Three Tibetan student activist were arrested yesterday outside a New Delhi hotel where Li Keqiang is staying. Another was arrested when he attempted to stage a demonstration near the Chinese embassy. Security has also been tightened around areas in New Delhi where Tibetan refugees who fled after the 1959 Tibetan revolution live, a police official told

“Delhi police had also rejected a request for public protests" by Tibetan non-governmental groups, a senior police official said.

Li Keqiang, who was elected to office in March this year, arrived in the Indian capital on Sunday for high level diplomatic talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the crucial issues of the contested shared border and trade.

A Tibetan youth hostel in north Delhi, where a large number of Tibetan college students live, has been warned by police to be cautious about their movements. Another popular Tibetan residential area in the city is also under a heavy security presence, an official said.

Tibet has been under Chinese occupation since 1949, but many Tibetans continue to press Beijing for independence and the release of their spiritual leader, Panchan Lama, who ranks second after the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, and who is allegedly in Chinese police detention.

China and India have a tempestuous relationship, particularly over territorial claims along their shared border. A diplomatic source told on condition of anonymity that in talks with Li Keqiang yesterday, Singh raised the issue of Chinese military intrusion into a disputed border area near Ladakh just a month ago.

China has repeatedly scolded India for sheltering the Dalai Lama. The source said that Singh assured Li Keqiang that India “does not allow anti-China activities from its soil,” but that the Dalai Lama was “a respected spiritual and religious leader.”

Tibetans have expressed their dismay at India for not allowing "democratic protests" during the Chinese premier’s visit. “We feel strongly and condemn recent Chinese incursions. We have our issues of human rights. We wanted to stage a protest peacefully,” said J Tsering, a Tibetan activist in New Delhi. 

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