Around 300 Tibetans and Tibet supporters, including two bus loads of Tibetans from New York, participated in a series of events in Washington, D.C., on December 9, 2003, to draw attention to the situation in Tibet during Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s meetings with President Bush and other American officials.
The Tibetans and supporters gathered in Lafayette Park near the White House where President Bush was meeting the Chinese Prime Minister. Thereafter, they marched to the Chinese Embassy. There were also some Taiwanese and East Turkestan protesters who had gathered at the Chinese Embassy.
Representatives of the variouls organizations addressed the gathering. Among the Tibetans, the speakers included Karma Zurkhang, president of the Capital Area Tibetan Association, Ani Ngawang Sangdrol and Ven. Palden Gyatso, former Tibetan political prisoners. They spoke about the deplorable situation in Tibet and urged the international community to support the Dalai Lama in his endeavor for a negotiated solution to the Tibetan issue.
There were several busloads of Chinese who were entering the Embassy and exiting it while the rally was going on.
Following the rally at the Embassy, the Tibetans went to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Washington, where Prime Minister Wen was giving a talk organized by the National Committee on U.S.-China relations, the U.S.-China Business Council, the America-China Forum, the Asia Society, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Committee of 100, the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-China Policy Foundation. The vigil continued until the end of the dinner reception. Some Tibetans stood at the rear entrance, through which the motorcade exited after the dinner.
There was a group of Chinese who were standing to welcome the Prime Minister, at the hotel entrance. They raised slogans opposing separatism, Tibetan independence and praising the unity of the Motherland.
The rally was organized by the Capital Area Tibetan Association, the International Campaign for Tibet, and the Students for a Free Tibet and participated in by the Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey as well as by the Tibetan community in New York.