NEW DELHI (Reuters) – More than a hundred Tibetan refugees staged a protest in New Delhi on Friday, demanding that the “occupation” of their country by China be discussed during the two-day G20 summit in the city this weekend.
Global leaders have started descending upon India’s national capital for the summit, including U.S. President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
China President Xi Jinping will not be attending the gathering and will instead be represented by Prime Minister Li Qiang.
“China has captured our country, that is why we want to give a message that China is not a trustworthy country,” Gonpo Dhundup, President of the Tibetan Youth Congress, which organised the demonstration, told Indian news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake.
“We place a demand before our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other global leaders to discuss Tibet during the G20 summit,” he said.
China sent troops into Tibet in 1950, terming the act a “peaceful liberation”, and has ruled the remote, mountainous country ever since.
While rights groups and Tibetans have made allegations of “cultural genocide” and strict controls on religion, language, education, and labour under China, Beijing denies any breach of the human rights of Tibetan people.
The protest on Thursday took place barely 15 kilometres (9 miles) away from Pragati Maidan, the venue of the summit, and ended peacefully.
ANI footage showed protesters, ranging from young children and students to the elderly, carrying Tibetan flags and chanting slogans of “we want freedom” and “Tibet belongs to Tibetans”.
(Reporting by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Kim Coghill)