Tibetans Storm Chinese Embassy

Tibetans Storm Chinese Embassy
October 10th, 2007  

Topic: Tibetans Storm Chinese Embassy

Tibetans Storm Chinese Embassy
NEW DELHI (AP) Some 30 Tibetan exiles protesting Chinese religious policies stormed the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on Wednesday, with several breaching the front gate and chaining themselves to the flag pole inside, police and witnesses said.
Others repeatedly sprayed "Free Tibet" in red paint on the embassy walls and the main gate before many of the demonstrators were forcibly taken away by Indian police, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene.
The activists were protesting a recent Chinese order that Beijing must approve all of Tibet's spiritual leaders, known as Lamas. For centuries, the search for the reincarnation of lamas including Tibet's spiritual head, the Dalai Lama has been carried out by select Tibetan monks.
"This order is an attempt to undermine the influence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama," said Dorjee Bhondup, a leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress who was at the protest.
The protest is one of a series in India against what the Tibetan exiles say are China's continued attempts to subvert Tibetan Buddhist culture and strengthen Beijing's hold on the Himalayan region.
In August, thousands of Tibetan exiles marched through New Delhi to protest the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Chinese plans to have the Olympic torch run go through Tibet.
India has been a center for the Tibetan exiles since the Dalai Lama fled to there in 1959 after a failed uprising and set up his government in exile in the northern town of Dharmsala.
However, India has tempered its support for the Tibetan cause in recent years as it seeks to improve relations with China. Last year, to avoid embarrassing visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao, India imposed a series of restrictions on Tibetan activists and protesters.
India's Foreign Ministry had no comment on Wednesday's incident.
Descending from a bus, the activists ran through the embassy's main gate that was guarded by private guards only. About six of the protesters scaled an inner wall and entered the main embassy compound where they chained themselves to a flag post and waved the Tibetan flag.
After about 15 minutes Indian police arrived and detained the protesters.
Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said 22 protesters had been detained but no charges would be filed against them.
Bhagat denied there had been a breach of security. "They were taken away because demonstrations are not allowed in that area," he said.
Phones at the Chinese Embassy rang unanswered.
The demonstrators were protesting the new order, which came into force in September and states that all future incarnations of living Buddhas related to Tibetan Buddhism must get Chinese government approval.
China's officially atheistic communist government has increasingly sought to direct Tibetan Buddhism, for centuries the basis of Tibet's civil, religious, cultural and political life.
Reincarnated lamas often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in Tibet.
China already insists that only the government can approve the appointments of the best-known reincarnates, including the Dalai and Panchen Lamas, the No. 1 and No. 2 figures in Tibetan Buddhism.
In 1995, the Dalai Lama chose 6-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama, the most exalted figure of Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since.
China's communist-led government later named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama and said Nyima and his family were being kept in a secret location for their protection.
"On behalf of every Tibetan we call on the Chinese government to withdraw this order," Bhondup said.


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