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SFT-Tibet-Xi-Goa-India-2016Goa, India — In accordance with the arrival of Chinese communist leader Xi Jinping in India, Tibetan activists in Goa staged a protest by flying the Tibetan national flag and a six-foot Free Tibet banner over the popular western sea coast.

Xi Jinping arrived in India for the BRICS conference which is being held in Goa from October 15th to the 16th.

Dhasal, the 20-year-old Tibetan activist raised the flag and banner said, "I did this action to protest Xi Jinping who is responsible of all the Human Rights violations in Tibet. Over 144 Tibetans have self immolated to protest against the Chinese Rule in Tibet and called for Freedom and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Tibetan Non Violence movement will continue until we end the illegal occupation of Tibet by China."

Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) staged a protest shortly after the Chinese leader arrived on the Dambolin Airport Road, raising slogans of 'Tibet's independence - India's security,' 'Stop demolition of Tibetan monastery Larung Gar.' These were to highlight the plights of Tibetans inside Tibet under the Chinese colonial occupation.

The BRICS Summit comes on the heels of unprecedented environmental crisis in Tibet due to China's construction of mega dams on Tibet's rivers and illegal mining activities which have caused a major threat to India and other downstream countries whose survival depends on Tibet's rivers. Additionally, 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, large-scale demolition of monks' and nuns' homes 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 distress among the residents of Larung Gar and the wider population of Tibet.

National Director of SFT, Tenzin Tselha, said, "Prime Minister Modi should hold a strong position now and bring the issue of Tibet into discussion to raise our voice and concerns during his meeting with (Chinese President) Xi Jinping at the BRICS conference. There cannot be lasting peace in the region without addressing the issue of Tibet. Tibet's independence is the only way to ensure India's security."

Indian advocate of SFT, Pranav, expressed his solidarity with the Tibetan struggle by raising a banner that read, 'Xi you are a Criminal, You are not welcome to India,' and said, "India got it's independence 70 years ago from British rule, and the freedom I enjoy today is due to the sacrifice of our Indian freedom fighters. Therefore, I joined the Tibetan nonviolent resistance for freedom, which is their birthright, and India should stand with them in their fight for truth and justice.

"As an Indian I am also very concerned about China's systematic damming of Tibet's rivers and extensive water diversion projects which will have devastating consequences for India. I call PM Modi to take a strong stand and raise the Tibet issue with Xi Jinping. Only Tibet's freedom can ensure lasting peace in the region."

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.

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