Paris,January 29: A group of about 50 Tibetans and Tibet supporters showed up with Tibetan national flags at the official reception of the Chinese new year at the Paris city hall on January 26.
"The French security could not differentiate between Tibetans and Chinese so we were able to get close to the reception," a Tibetan protestor said.
Lying on the ground, the protesters managed to block the motorcade of the Chinese ambassador, who had to enter the reception through a back door.
Tibetans were later joined by Sylvain Garel, co-President of the French Green party who tried to submit a memorandum asking for the release of Tibetan political prisoners. The Chinese Ambassador refused to accept the memorandum.
"China killed more than 200 Tibetans since last March, thousands have been imprisoned, many are still missing. Five thousand Tibetans were rounded up last week and 81 were arrested in Tibet. This is Chinese government's new year gift to our people," said a Tibetan protester.
The protesters were demanding the release of thousands of Tibetans who have been imprisoned since last March and to account for many who have simply disappeared.
"I think it is very inappropriate for the French authorities to be a part of this reception," said one French protester. "They should be ashamed," he added.
Tibetans and their supporters were later removed from the site by the police and released later in groups of five after half an hour. One Tibetan girl got injured in the scuffle.
Citing the French President's meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland, the Chinese government cancelled the EU-China Economic Summit in Lyon, France last December. Though Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown and others have met the Dalai Lama, France continues to be a scapegoat. Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao will bypass France on his current European tour, which some analysts say is an effort to warn other Western democracies. Beijing has recently called on Paris to make a "gesture" to "improve bilateral relations" between the two countries.
The President of Foundation Charles de Gaulle, Pierre Mazeaud received a Chinese delegation on January 28, and said that he would meet Nicholas Sarkozy, the French President to discuss with him the "absolute need" to revive the China's good relations with France that was endangered by the Tibetan issue, reportedLe Monde
, a French daily.