By Tendar Tsering
A Tibetan activist protesting against the visiting Chinese military delegation headed by General Ma Xiaotian in New Delhi on December 9, 2011. (Photo/TYC)
DHARAMSHALA, December 9: Seventeen Tibetans under the banner of the Tibetan Youth Congress today stormed Hotel Maurya Sheraton in the Indian capital New Delhi where a visiting Chinese military delegation headed by General Ma Xiaotian was holding a meeting.
The 17 activists, 6 girls and 11 boys, were protesting against the Chinese military delegation that “represents the Chinese occupying forces in Tibet”.
Since March this year, 12 Tibetans have set their bodies on fire protesting China’s continued occupation of Tibet and the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet.
Speaking to Phayul on phone from the Indian capital, Kunchok Yangphel, the Finance Secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest pro-independence group in exile said that two of the activists entered the premises of the hotel despite a heavy security presence around the hotel.
"Two of our activists entered the hotel but were later forced out. All of the activists were arrested and are currently locked up in the Chanakyapuri police station," added Kunchok.
General Ma Xiaotian, the deputy chief of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff is on a three-day visit to India to hold parleys with the Indian Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma under the annual Indo-China defence dialogue programme. In August 2010, New Delhi suspended military exchanges with China and put all other military exchanges on hold after Beijing refused to grant permission to a senior Indian Army Commander to proceed on an official trip to Beijing.
Tibetan activists being taken away in police vehicles after they stormed a meeting venue of a visiting Chinese military delegation headed by General Ma Xiaotian in New Delhi on December 9, 2011. (Photo/TYC)
Tensions between the two Asian nuclear powers resurfaced recently after India indefinitely put off the 15th round of Special Representative-level talks on the long-pending boundary dispute after Beijing demanded that India scrap a Buddhist conference in New Delhi where the Dalai Lama was scheduled to give the valedictory speech.
Following today’s meeting, a spokesperson for the Indian Defence Ministry told reporters that both sides held discussion on a "wide range" of issues in a "cordial atmosphere".
TYC maintains that the Indo-China border is a “myth” as it came into existence after Tibet, an independent nation, was invaded and occupied by China in 1959.