Delhi, 11 December – Tibetan activist unfurled a banner in front of the Imperial Hotel where Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’ is residing. Wang Yi is currently in Delhi for the 15th Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers’ trilateral meeting, Tibet activists kicked off their protest by unveiling(1) a 10ft  by 4ft  banner. The banner read “China, Free Tibet Now.” The  protesters shouted slogans asking for Free Tibet.

The Russia, India and China meeting comes on the heels of an unprecedented environmental crisis in Tibet due to China’s creation of a 1,000-km long tunnel, which, if completed, would be the world’s longest by a huge margin, to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra from Tibet to the dry Xinjiang region. These activities are a major threat to India and other downstream countries whose survival depends on Tibet’s rivers.(2) Moreover, the human rights situation in Tibet has worsened dramatically in recent years as fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, religion and privacy have been severely restricted.

In July 2016, a large-scale demolition of monks’ and nuns’ homes (4)  at one of the world’s largest monastic institutions, Larung Gar in eastern Tibet (Ch: Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province), commenced under Chinese government orders. The demolitions at Larung Gar have caused severe distress among the residents of Larung Gar and the wider population of Tibet.

After 68 years of illegal occupation of Tibet(5) by China, Tibetans in Tibet continue to resist Chinese rule through nonviolent protests. Recently on November 29,  a 63-year old Tibetan monk named Tenga from Kardze, Kham, Tibet set himself on fire calling for Tibet’s freedom raising the number of self-immolations to 150 Tibetans (6) , of which the vast majority took place under Xi’s presidency.

“China’s occupation of Tibet directly affects India’s wellbeing. The planned 1,000-km-long tunnel to divert the Brahmaputra River, for example, is a serious threat to India’s water security. Sushma Swaraj, the Foreign Minister of India, should demand a water sharing treaty or basin organization with China to stop these types of damaging projects,” said Tenzin Tselha National Director of Students for a Free Tibet – India.

“Tibet’s Independence is vital for India’s security, As an Indian member of Students for a Free Tibet, I urge Sushma Swaraj, foreign minister of India to stand up for Tibet’s Independence” said Michael Rajchandra member of Students for a Free Tibet – India

Students for a Free Tibet works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence. It is a chapter-based network of young people and activists around the world. Through education, grassroots organizing and nonviolent direct action, they campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom.