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Tibetans coerced as China vows Pak-support on Kashmir ahead of President Xi’s visit

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan with Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct10’19) – Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s visit to India for a return informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Oct 11-12 at Mamallapuram in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu state, China has made it clear that it has always seen Pakistan as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy and will continue to firmly support it on issues concerning its core interests and of major concern to it. These remarks were made during meetings Xi as well as Premier Li Keqiang had with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. In addition, Xi has said Oct 9 that he was watching the situation in Kashmir and would support Pakistan on the issue.

“The Chinese side (said) it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu & Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” said a joint press release issued at the end of Khan’s visit to Beijing.

India responded by saying Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and China was well aware of it.

China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar Oct 10.

* * *

But India’s opposition parties were not satisfied by New Delhi weak response to what they saw as an about-turn in China’s previous position that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad.

In particular, the Congress party demanded to know why China’s claims on Kashmir were not being countered with references to Tibet and Hong Kong.

“Xi Jinping says he is watching Kashmir but why does @PMOIndia/MEA not say 1) We are watching Pro-Democracy protests muzzled in Hong Kong. 2) We are watching human rights violations in Xinjiang. 3) We are watching continued oppression in Tibet 4 )We are watching South China Sea (sic),” Congress’ national spokesperson Manish Tewari said in a tweet on Oct 10.

* * *

Meanwhile, India is leaving nothing to chances regarding the security arrangement during Xi’s visit, cracking down harshly on Tibetans who wanted to, or were assumed to be likely to, hold protests.

People’s Watch, a Madurai-based human rights NGO on Oct 9 called for the immediate release of all Tibetans who had been held ahead of Xis arrival.

The group’s Executive Director Henri Tiphagne said Tibetans in India believed in non-violence and strongly adhered to it; that they only engaged in creative means of protest to get their demands for ‘Free Tibet’ known to the world, especially during visits of Chinese dignitaries, reported thehindu.com Oct 9.

The state police had on Oct 6 detained eight Tibetan activists belonging to the Tibetan Students Association of Madras (TSAM), the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), and the Students for a Free Tibet (SFT). The day before, the state police took into custody Tibetan writer and independence activist Tenzin Tsundue from Kottakuppam town in Villupuram district for allegedly having “Free Tibet” publicity materials in his possession.

According to media reports, the state police had detained 42 Tibetans altogether, but let go of most of them after profiling them by taking their photos and making them to sign an undertaking to refrain from demonstrating and agreeing to maintain peace.

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