By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 26: Tibetans and Hong Kongers gathered to protest against the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Rome on Tuesday. Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio met with the Chinese minister at his office and told the press, “We have emphasized that Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, based on the one country, two systems principle, is essential. . . [But is also essential to] preserve the high degree of autonomy and the fundamental rights and freedoms.”
Prominent pro-democracy activist Nathan Law joined many Tibetans and Hong Kongers at the Farnesina Square as the secretive visit was announced last minute without specific dates or details. The activist highlighted the human rights violations carried out by the Chinese government and the need to be aware of CCP’s growing infiltration tactics and expansionist nature.
Nathan Law further urged the international community to recognize gross human rights violations by China, “The concentration camps in Xinjiang, the cultural annihilation in Tibet, the military intimidation to Taiwan and also all the military moves in South-China Sea. These are human rights violations that we should address.”
Wang Yi visited the Italy on his five-country Europe visit schedule to mend the deteriorating image of China after the COVID-19 outbreak. As many Western nations reconsider their associations with controversial Chinese companies like Huawei, his Europe trip attempts to damage-control the image accorded to China as the pandemic ensues. Chinese foreign minister is set to visit Italy, Netherlands, Norway, France, and Germany from Aug 5 to Sept 1, 2020.
Italy became the first major democracy to sign an agreement to join China’s “Belt and Road” initiative last year. It is a massive global investment plan that includes major infrastructure capital to create a channel for trade and China’s construction industry. The US and many other European countries see it as a threat as China seeks to execute this ongoing project.