Chinese President faces protesters during US visit

Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute and Initiatives for China protest
Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute and Initiatives for China protest
24th September 2015

Tibet campaigners join protests over human rights

Xi Jinping began his trip to the US on Tuesday facing protests from Tibetans and others concerned about human rights.

Around 100 demonstrators greeted the Chinese president in Seattle on the first day of his week-long US visit.

In the remaining days of his trip Xi will visit Washington, where he will meet with President Obama, and New York, where he will make his first speech to the UN General Assembly on Monday.

The US government has made some strong statements concerning human rights in Tibet and Mr Obama has drawn strong criticism from China over his private meetings with the Dalai Lama. President Xi is being honoured with a full state visit, however.

The Chinese leader will undertake a state visit to the UK next month.

Prime Minister and London Mayor odd ones out

After contact from Free Tibet, Liberal Democrat representatives on the London Assembly and the UK Green Party, have issued statements welcoming the Dalai Lama to London, and urged the Prime Minister and London Mayor Boris Johnson to do the same and offer to meet him.

Their statements follow similar calls from Labour Party and Green Party politicians in London.

Caroline Pidgeon of the Liberal Democrat Group said it was a "privilege" the Dalai Lama was visiting London, adding that she has written to the Mayor requesting he offer a meeting.

 Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party across the UK, also welcomed the Dalai Lama saying:

He will understandably want to discuss human rights and other issues relating to Tibet and I hope Prime Minister David Cameron is courteous enough to give him an audience."

Mayor "admires" Dalai Lama's work and is "deeply concerned" about human rights in China

The Dalai Lama has now left the UK. Neither Mr Cameron or Mr Johnson met him or made reference to his stay during his visit. In a statement after his departure,  the London Mayor’s Office said:

"The Mayor admires the work the Dalai Lama has done to raise the profile of the people of Tibet around the world. The Mayor is aware of the deeply concerning human rights issues in Tibet.”

The statement then follows the normal UK government line that Tibet is "part of China" and that progress on human rights is best made through engagement with the Chinese government.


Take action

While the London Mayor is free to make positive statements about the Dalai Lama, Tibetans inside Tibet who do so face imprisonment. Please contact the Chinese authorities to demand justice for Bangri Tsamtrul Rinpoche, currently serving an 18 year sentence.