By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 21: The London-based Free Tibet activists on Thursday hung a banner identical to the one at the Sitong bridge in Beijing that was hung by an unidentified protester on October 13. The group held a demonstration calling for an end to the Chinese government’s restrictive Covid-19 measures in solidarity with the Chinese protestor who was reportedly detained by the authorities following the protest, and whose whereabouts are currently unknown, according to the rights group.
The banner hung from the Westminster bridge in London read the same as the original banner in Beijing that protested against the authoritarian Chinese rule, “We want food, not PCR tests. We want reform, not a Cultural Revolution. We want a vote, not a leader. We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want respect, not lies. We want to be citizens, not slaves.”
This banner protest follows the assault of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester who was beaten at the Chinese consulate in Manchester city on Sunday, leading to the British foreign secretary summoning officials from the embassy to explain the alleged assault.
Activist Tenzin Kunga on the Westminster Bridge said in the press release, “As a Tibetan, I can feel the frustration of that lone protester because Xi Jinping’s zero-covid is taking a huge toll on the lives of my Tibetan brothers and sisters inside occupied Tibet, as well as making life miserable for the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkestan, while dismantling all freedoms in Hong Kong.”
Two banners were hung on Sitong bridge in Haidian district in Beijing on October 13, ahead of the 20th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. Thick smoke can be seen at the site of the protest in the images although the cause of that smoke is unknown at the moment. One man was reportedly heard chanting slogans at the same spot.