12/15/2010, 00.00
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“Tibet’s Independence: India’s Security,” Tibetan students say

Tibetan and Indian students demonstrate as China’s Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, travels to India. They call for an independent Tibet, which would secure India’s borders, currently under threat from Beijing. Christian leader urges not to forget human rights.
 New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Tibetan and Indian students as well as Christian groups urge New Delhi to keep in mind that more is at stake than trade when Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrives today on an official visit. For them, Tibetan independence, India’s security, freedom for Liu Xiaobo’s and justice for the countries of South Asia are equally important.

Hundreds of Tibetans demonstrated today in New Delhi, waving flags and shouting slogans against China’s “occupation and oppression” of Tibet, as the event’s organisers, the Tibetan Youth Congress, put it (pictured yesterday’s demonstration in front of the India in New Delhi).

Hundreds of Tibetan and Indian students also unfurled a banner that read, “Tibet’s Independence: India’s Security” at the Raj Ghat, the site where the Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India’s independence movement, was cremated.

Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) and Indian students want Wen to end 60 years of occupation of Tibet and 50 years of territorial disputes with India.

Beijing claims India’s Aksai Chin and the Arunachal Pradesh, saying these areas have always been Tibetan, and that since it annexed Tibet, they are China’s.

India’s has countered that it has held these territories since it gained independence, and that Tibetan influence there has always been peaceful rather than military.

The two countries fought a war in 1962, which China won. Their common border is heavily militarised. India is especially concerned that China might be tempted to seize new lands.

Students note that Tibetan independence would end the territorial dispute.

“The Chinese government's illegal infiltration into sovereign Indian territory will not end until Tibet once again takes its place amongst free and independent nations,” said Rigzin Spalgon, a student from Ladakh and Delhi SFT Coordinator. “A free and independent Tibet is will ensure lasting peace and stability for people living along the Indo-Tibetan border."

“Our action here today sends a clear message to Wen Jiabao that the youth of this nation will not tolerate China’s blatant attempt to colonise parts of India, nor will we remain silent while China continues to brutally suppress the Tibetan people,” said Shibayan Raha, grassroots director of SFT-India.

“The Indian people wholeheartedly support the Tibetan people’s nonviolent struggle for freedom. We call for a long overdue shift in India’s policy on Tibet, recognising the Tibetan people’s right to independence—a position that will also strengthen India’s position in border negotiations with China,” he added.

This is the first time Wen visits India since the March 2008 Tibet protests, which the Chinese military crushed in blood. More than 200 people were killed and thousands were arrested, many of whom are still in prison.

Since then, the situation has deteriorated, as the authorities continue their systematic repression of monks and intellectuals.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), has urged New Delhi not to forget human rights, above all the fate of dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is in prison for fighting for democracy and freedom in China

“India and China are Asian giants,” he told AsiaNews. “The two can play a key role in securing peace in the South Asian region. The GCIC appeals to both to intervene in Myanmar where the military junta held an election farce, in nuclear-armed North Korea and in Sri Lanka where abuses and violations of human rights have taken place.” In the latter case, he wants “an impartial investigation into the final stages of the assault against the Tamil Tigers, which reportedly led to nearly 50,000 civilians butchered by the Sri Lanka's army.” (NC)
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