With the sacred Olympic flame set to return to Beijing for Friday's opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Games, China's troubled relations with Tibet is attracting unwanted global attention. (More Sports News)
On the eve of the opening ceremony, hundreds of Tibetans marched outside the Swiss headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other cities around the round, demanding freedom for their region.
Waving placards bearing messages like “Save Tibet” and “No More Bloody Games,” Tibetan expatriates from across Europe sought to send a message to China's ruling Communist Party.
In Germany, protestors gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, with a coalition of human rights organisations calling on German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to diplomatically boycott the Winter Olympics.
In Australia, Tibetans marched in a rally titled 'Peace Walk for Tibet: City to City' from Newcastle to Sydney’.
China doesn't recognise the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile and accuses exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China.
Behind a tiny police escort, demonstrators waving scores of Tibetan flags were joined by a handful of men in monk-like robes and about a dozen supporters of China's Muslim Uyghur minority.
The fortnight-long Winter Olympics will be declared open by President Xi Jinping amid the US, European Union and several western countries' diplomatic boycott of the opening ceremony and the threat of COVID-19 cases.
Indian diplomats will also not attend Friday's ceremony after China chose Qi Fabao, a soldier who was involved in the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash, as one of the torchbearers.
“It is indeed regrettable that the Chinese side has chosen to politicise an event like the Olympics,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing Thursday.
Tibetans in Dharamsala urged the international community to stand up against Beijing. Led by Students for Free Tibet, the protestors raised slogans against China.
Skier Arif Khan is the only athlete representing India at the Games.
Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, and some venues from 2008 will be re-used, including the Bird's Nest stadium, where the opening ceremony will again be overseen by famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou.
(With agency inputs)