Protests greet Chinese president on UK State Visit

Protesters in London today
Protesters in London today

20th October 2015

Tibet and human rights supporters take to London's streets as Xi Jinping arrives

President Xi Jinping began his four-day State Visit to the UK today - his first visit as president and the first visit from a Chinese president in 10 years.

Free Tibet joined other UK Tibet and human rights groups - including those representing Xinjiang, Falun Gong, Hong Kong and Amnesty International - to ensure that President Xi was greeted at each stage on the first day of his visit.

Red carpet welcome for Xi

China's leader began his visit with an official procession along the Mall in London, followed by an address to Parliament and a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, where he will be staying.

Prince Charles - a long-term supporter of the Dalai Lama - did not attend the evening banquet. In contrast, Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have been accused of 'kowtowing' to China by focusing on trade and ignoring human rights.

Tibet protesters make their voices heard

Demonstrations included noisy chants and eye-catching banners, as well as a stunt with Xi Jinping presented with blood on his hands. Free Tibet also organised a van to travel around the president's London destinations, displaying the message "Warning: Chinese president in town. Don't mention human rights in Tibet". 

Organised pro-China protests took place too, with BBC Newsnight reporting that demonstrators wore merchandise shipped in from China by the Chinese Embassy.

Free Tibet also co-hosted a 'Stateless Lunch' on Monday and will continue to co-organise protests throughout President Xi's visit. Please see the Facebook event for details if you would like to join.