Join our Mailing List

"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetans Storm Chinese Embassy in New Delhi

October 12, 2007

NEW DELHI, October 10, 2007 (AP) — Some 30 Tibetan exiles protesting
Chinese religious policies stormed the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on
Wednesday, with several breaching the front gate and chaining themselves
to the flag pole inside, police and witnesses said.

Others repeatedly sprayed "Free Tibet" in red paint on the embassy walls
and the main gate before many of the demonstrators were forcibly taken
away by Indian police, according to an Associated Press photographer at
the scene.

The activists were protesting a recent Chinese order that Beijing must
approve all of Tibet's spiritual leaders, known as Lamas. For centuries,
the search for the reincarnation of lamas — including Tibet's spiritual
head, the Dalai Lama — has been carried out by select Tibetan monks.

"This order is an attempt to undermine the influence of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama," said Dorjee Bhondup, a leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress
who was at the protest.

The protest is one of a series in India against what the Tibetan exiles
say are China's continued attempts to subvert Tibetan Buddhist culture
and strengthen Beijing's hold on the Himalayan region.

In August, thousands of Tibetan exiles marched through New Delhi to
protest the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Chinese plans to have the Olympic
torch run go through Tibet.

India has been a center for the Tibetan exiles since the Dalai Lama fled
to there in 1959 after a failed uprising and set up his government in
exile in the northern town of Dharmsala.

However, India has tempered its support for the Tibetan cause in recent
years as it seeks to improve relations with China. Last year, to avoid
embarrassing visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao, India imposed a
series of restrictions on Tibetan activists and protesters.

India's Foreign Ministry had no comment on Wednesday's incident.

Descending from a bus, the activists ran through the embassy's main gate
that was guarded by private guards only. About six of the protesters
scaled an inner wall and entered the main embassy compound where they
chained themselves to a flag post and waved the Tibetan flag.

After about 15 minutes Indian police arrived and detained the protesters.

Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said 22 protesters had been detained but
no charges would be filed against them.

Bhagat denied there had been a breach of security. "They were taken away
because demonstrations are not allowed in that area," he said.

Phones at the Chinese Embassy rang unanswered.

The demonstrators were protesting the new order, which came into force
in September and states that all future incarnations of living Buddhas
related to Tibetan Buddhism must get Chinese government approval.

China's officially atheistic communist government has increasingly
sought to direct Tibetan Buddhism, for centuries the basis of Tibet's
civil, religious, cultural and political life.

Reincarnated lamas often lead religious communities and oversee the
training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in

China already insists that only the government can approve the
appointments of the best-known reincarnates, including the Dalai and
Panchen Lamas, the No. 1 and No. 2 figures in Tibetan Buddhism.

In 1995, the Dalai Lama chose 6-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the
11th Panchen Lama, the most exalted figure of Tibetan Buddhism after the
Dalai Lama. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not
been heard from since.

China's communist-led government later named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th
Panchen Lama and said Nyima and his family were being kept in a secret
location for their protection.

"On behalf of every Tibetan we call on the Chinese government to
withdraw this order," Bhondup said.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank