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"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 Ask: “Free Tibet Wen?”, Police Say: “Not Now”

December 19, 2010

December 16, 2010, Wall Street Journal

By Shruti Chakraborty

A visit by a Chinese premier isn?t complete unless the obligatory
protest by Tibetan refugees has taken place?and been all but ignored.

India’s home to a large Tibetan refugee population, as well as to
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a
Chinese crackdown in the Himalayan region in 1951.

On Wednesday, Tibetans who still hope for an independent homeland even
after a fruitless five-decade struggle, were all ready for Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao, who arrived in New Delhi Wednesday. But they
received little notice from anyone except for the police.

Seven demonstrators from the Tibetan Youth Congress, a group that
demands full sovereignty for the southwestern province, shouted the
slogan “Free Tibet” outside the Taj Palace hotel, where Mr. Wen and his
delegation are staying. The demonstrators were taken away by police and
detained at the local police station.

Also protesting on Wednesday were a group of Tibetans who marched from
Raj Ghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, to a designated protest area in
Connaught Place.

On Thursday, protesters from the Tibetan Youth Congress attempted to
enter the media entry gate of Hyderabad House, the venue where Mr. Wen
was meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The protesters
waved a poster that read “Free Tibet Wen, Free Tibet Now.” They too were
taken away and detained by the police.

But Tibet Youth Congress president Tsewang Rigzin said that they were
undeterred and will continue to press Mr. Wen until he departs for
Pakistan Friday.

“Till China doesn’t stop its illegal occupation of Tibet, Chinese
leaders should not be treated as world leaders,” he said.

Beijing maintains that Tibet is an integral part of China, and India
providing a home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan parliament-in-exile
in the hill town of Dharamshala has sometimes been awkward for relations
between the two countries.

At the protest on Wednesday, 28-year-old demonstrator Tenzing Namsal
said that “because India wants trade with China they probably won’t talk
about freeing Tibet, so it’s very important for us to come here and make
sure that the issue gets attention.”
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