EXCLUSIVE: There was a cacophony of colour as pro-China supporters faced off outside a Sydney hotel against democracy activists, Free Tibet advocates and members of the Falun Gong movement ahead of a major speech by China’s leader, Premier Li Keqiang.
Greeting Premier Li outside the Westin Hotel in Sydney’s central business district were hundreds of protestors as well as an assortment of pro-Chinese student groups, cultural organisations and business groups to show support for their government and its leader.
Despite Premier Li not due to give the speech to a forum hosted by the Australia China Business Council until in the evening, some supporters and protestors had been chanting, drumming and singing since 10am in the morning.
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Tibetan activist, Tsundu Oser, told PR 4 THE PPL that at least 500 Tibetans were gathered outside the hotel.
“We need freedom, we need independence,” he said.
“We as Tibetans are exactly the same as Chinese people. We have feelings as well. We are human beings as well.”
Members of the Falun Gong movement had also come out in force in yellow t-shirts and holding banners decrying alleged organ harvesting by China’s government.
“It’s a really peaceful appeal for the Premier’s visit,”Falan Gong practitioner Rachel told PR 4 THE PPL.
“We’re trying to deliver a message that the Chinese government should stop persecuting Falun Gong and bring the perpetrator [former Communist Party leader] Jiang Zemin to justice.”
Hundreds of others like University of Sydney student Jessica meanwhile were simply happy that their country’s leader was in Australia.
“I’m just here to support our China. We’re having a great activity here for the visit of Premier Li,” she said.
“We hope it’s all going well and everything will be fine. We love China.“
Premier Li arrived is due to fly out of Australia this weekend after a five-day state visit largely focused on strengthening economic and trade ties between the two countries.
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