Protests greet Chinese president on his state visit to France

DHARAMSALA, March 26: A large number of Tibetans and supporters greeted visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping with protests at the tail end of his three-nation European tour as he landed in France amidst heightened security in the country on Sunday.

On the occasion of the arrival of the Chinese President Xi Jinping in France, for three days, Tibetans and supporters numbering to thousand greeted him with protest on Sunday and Monday calling for freedom for Tibetans, an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the resumption of the stalled dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The protest was jointly organized by six Tibetan NGOs in France; the Tibetan Community of France, Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Regional Dokham Chushi Gangdruk, U-Tsang Welfare Association, and Domey Welfare Association.

While the protesters carrying Tibetan National flag shouted slogans such as ‘Free Tibet’ and ‘China out of Tibet now’ marched from the Place du Trocadero (a popular public square) till the wall of Peace in Paris on Sunday from 1:30 pm-7:00 pm local time, another rally was planned on Monday at the same venue but as the authorities have terminated the permission for the rally and the protesters staged a 3-hour sit-in protest.

The protest was also attended by French Senator Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio and activists from Uighur Vietnamese and Mongolian among others on Sunday.

Senator Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio has reportedly asked the French Government to raise the issue of Tibet during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country in her address earlier on the 60th anniversary of the uprising in Lhasa at Brussels.

Omer Ali, the president of the association of Uyghurs of France has stated that if the brutality and the suppression of the communist regime continues, then his fellow countrymen and Tibetans alike will be wiped out from history.

“If it continues like this, the two ethnic groups will be removed from the history of humanity, ” quoted him as saying in its report.

While Chinese President Xi Jinping received the full honors of a formal reception upon his arrival in France, the French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned the EU over dealings with China.

“Europe needs a joint approach to relations with China, rather than acting as individual countries,” President Macron has said according to media reports in an apparent dig at aimed at Italy for signing up to China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative. (BRI)

France is the last leg of Xi’s three-nation European tour that has also taken him to Italy and Monaco.

Xi has signed 15 business contracts with China worth billions of euros on Monday including a multi-plane order with Airbus and a €1 billion contract for EDF to build an offshore wind farm in China.

The Chinese President will meet with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel today.

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