Protests flare against China at US nuclear summit
(Publish Date: 2010-4-13 2:25pm, Total Visits: 185, Today: 1, This Week: 1, This Month: 1)

Scores of chanting Tibetans and silently meditating Falun Gong practitioners staged a peaceful protest in Washington Monday to warn world leaders gathered here for a nuclear weapons summit not to take Beijing's pledges at face value.

Protests flare against China at US nuclear summit

AFP
Published: Monday April 12, 2010


0diggsdigg

 

Scores of chanting Tibetans and silently meditating Falun Gong practitioners staged a peaceful protest in Washington Monday to warn world leaders gathered here for a nuclear weapons summit not to take Beijing's pledges at face value.

"World leaders should be careful of what Hu Jintao says. There are a lot of things about him that we, and world leaders, don't see," Tibetan protester Migmar Wanggi said as he held a handmade sign with a caricature of the Chinese leader and the words: Hu Jintao - Liar.

Washington police officers and soldiers in fatigues snapped to attention as the more than 100 Tibetans gathered in Samuel Gompers Square, a stone's throw from the Washington Convention Center where President Barack Obama is hosting 47 heads of state, including China's Hu, at two days of talks on nuclear security began chanting angry slogans.

"Wake up, wake up, USA! Wake up, wake up, Obama!" shouted the Tibetans, many in traditional dress and carrying the yellow, red, blue and white flag of their mountain country, which was annexed by China in 1951.

"Nuclear-free zone in Tibet, in Tibet," chanted Tsultrim Sangmo, and others took up the mantra.

"China will never admit to having nuclear weapons on the Tibetan plateau, but we suspect they do, and US intelligence reports have said the Chinese have used Tibet as a dumping ground for nuclear waste," one of the activists, Wangchuk Shakabpa of the US Tibet Committee, told AFP.

"One thing this summit is about is making sure that nuclear weapons don't proliferate, particularly not among people who don't play by the rules. We support that. Tibetans don't want nukes on the plateau," he said.

Tibet sits in between China and India, and an independent and nuclear-free Tibet would provide the ideal buffer zone between the two nuclear states, said Tenzin Dolkar.

"We want to ask Obama to pressure Hu to free Tibet because if the goal of this nuclear summit is to find global security, then having Tibet as an independent nation acting as a buffer zone between two nuclear nations would be the solution," said Dolkar.

In two corners of the park, Falun Gong practitioners went through the gentle motions of their meditative art, which has gained a following of 100 million in China.

"The Chinese government persecutes anything that is outside its control. If they feel threatened, they go after you, and with more than 100 million people practicing Falun Gong, they've become paranoid and have been doing things to practitioners, like harvesting their organs when they are still alive," said Dr Wenyi Wang.

"The international community has to realize that everyone has a responsibility to stop the persecution of the Falun Gong by the Chinese [Goverment]" , she said.

"But a lot of people, especially in the United States and Europe, only engage China economically and turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses," said Wenyi Wang.

Lisa Tao, 70, told AFP in heavily accented English that she had come to join the protesters because "thousands of Falun Gong have been tortured to death and we want to send a message to Hu Jintao to stop persecuting people.

"We don't know if he will change but we have to keep up the pressure. So we keep protesting, wherever he goes," she said.

The chants of the Tibetans crescendoed every time a police escort with sirens blaring led an official motorcade past the park.

"Wake up, world leaders," the protesters shouted, their voices straining as they tried to get their message across to the passing dignitaries, shielded behind the tinted windows of their official vehicles.