By Tenzin Sangmo
Tenzin Tsundue is caught by security while releasing a "Free Tibet" banner, on the 8th floor of the Oberoi Hotel where Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji was addressing a business meeting in Bombay, India, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2002.
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 6: Prominent Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue has been arrested on Saturday evening in Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu in lead up to Chinese President Xi-Jinping visit next week.
He is currently in police custody at Kottakuppam police station and is likely to remain there until the visit.
The coastal town of Mamallapuram, the venue chosen to host the historic informal summit between the two leaders from October 11-13 is 125 km away from where Tsundue was arrested.
Tsundue was on a speaking tour across different Indian universities. He was previously in Bangalore for a poetry reading and at a university in Banaras before traveling to Tamil Nadu.
Tsundue has posted about Xi’s visit on his Facebook post yesterday, “Xi has invited Pak PM to Beijing for a chai on the 8th, and India's military exercise in Arunachal will go on while Xi is on India visit. Xi hyphenates Nepal on the India tour. Too many swords drawn. What's going on? And no official announcements still.”
Tsundue was first arrested in 2002 when he staged a one-man protest against the then Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to Mumbai, unfurling a red banner that read “Free Tibet” from a Hotel Oberoi where Zhu was addressing a gathering. HIs second arrest came in 2005 following a similar protest against the then Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao's Bangalore visit.
The Indian police ordered a travel ban on Tsundue that kept him confined to Dharamshala when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited India in November 2006. He subsequently spent many years traveling to Bangalore court for hearing of the case.
The arrest of the activist signals a tighter restriction on Tibetan refugees in India by the government in Delhi during the upcoming visit.
Tenzin Tsundue is based in Dharamshala, from where he writes and works for Tibet’s independence. Update:
The police said they knew he was going to unfurl Free Tibet banner and protest. Police arrested him while was looking for a room. Tsundue has been moved from Kottakuppam police station last night to Central jail in Chennai.