Buddhist monks in maroon and yellow robes and ordinary Tibetans, their faces painted in the colors of their flag, marched through downtown New Delhi yesterday protesting the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao (
More than 1,000 noisy demonstrators chanted anti-China slogans and called for an end to Chinese rule of Tibet. The protesters also called on the Indian government to take a tougher stance toward China over Tibet, which Chinese troops have occupied since 1951.
Hu was set to arrive in India later yesterday, the first trip by a Chinese president to India in a decade, for a three-day visit.
"Hu Jintao: Wanted for crimes against humanity in China's illegal occupation of Tibet," read one poster. "Tibetan people want freedom" and "Wake up India," read others.
India became a center for Tibetan exiles after the Dalai Lama fled there in 1959, settling in the northern town of Dharamsala.
Police stopped marchers before they could reach the Indian parliament building. Last week police barred a prominent Tibetan activist, Tenzin Tsundue, from leaving Dharamsala during the visit.
Tsundue has a reputation for publicity stunts that have embarrassed previous Chinese visitors
Most Tibetans say China has attempted to destroy Tibetan Buddhist culture by flooding Tibet with China's ethnic Han majority.
The protesters singled out Hu, who governed the Tibetan region between 1988 and 1992, saying he had adopted a repressive stance toward the region.
"After he took over as president, he has been pursuing a hardline policy in Tibet," said Dhondup Dorjee of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
Hu is set to meet with Indian President A.P.J. Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visit Agra and Mumbai before heading to Pakistan.