Uyghurs, Tibetans urge France to tackle human rights with Chinese president

Activists are protesting in Paris this weekend to highlight what they say are grave human rights abuses by the Chinese government ahead of a state visit by President Xi Jinping.

Uyghur and Tibetan groups held marches in central Paris on Sunday, the day that Xi arrived in Europe for the first time since 2019.

Campaigners have vowed to protest throughout his two-day visit to draw attention to government oppression in Tibet and the mass detention of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the northern region of Xinjiang.

Dilnur Reyhan, the founder of the European Uyghur Institute and a French national, said she and other activists were "angry" the Chinese leader was visiting.

"For the Uyghur people – and in particular for French Uyghurs – it's a slap from our president, Emmanuel Macron," she said at a press conference in Paris on Friday.

The group Students for a Free Tibet staged a protest next to the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday, climbing lampposts and waving banners to denounce "increasingly brutal" Chinese rule.

Tsela Zoksang, one of two activists briefly detained by French police, said the situation in Tibet had deteriorated under Xi.

"But rather than treating Xi like the dictator he is, President Macron is rolling out the red carpet for him," she said.


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