RANCHO MIRAGE (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of protestors are expected to greet Chinese President Xi Jinping when he arrives to meet with President Barack Obama in Rancho Mirage.
Supporters of Tibetan liberation and the spiritual movement Falun Gong plan to attend rallies near Bob Hope and Gerald Ford drives Friday and Saturday, to coincide with the historic summit between the two world leaders.
Falun Gong advocates say they have been persecuted by the Chinese government, starting in 1999 when Jiang Zemin was president. His successors, Hu Jintao and Xi, have allowed the persecution to continue, according to the U.S. Southwestern Falun Dafa Assocation.
Protestors, who have come from all over California and Arizona, say they hope to convince Xi and other leaders to stop the persecution – which allegedly includes torture, organ harvesting and labor camps – and hold those responsible accountable.
“We would like (Obama) to consider human rights in his conversations with President Xi and put that on the table,” said Jiang, who came from San Francisco.
Tibet activists are asking Obama “to take a stand for Tibet and pressure China to end their atrocities in Tibet,” according to Students for a Free Tibet, one of the Tibet rally organizers.
This morning, a group of Tibet activists put signs with slogans like “It’s time for President Obama to take a stand for Tibet” on the barricades lining Bob Hope Drive on the way to Sunnylands, and some carried Tibetan flags.
One of the organizers, Tenzin Gyaltsen, said he arrived from San Francisco around 2 a.m. He said the group will hold a candlelight vigil tonight, and tomorrow someone will don a large head resembling Xi and “show how world leaders have failed to support Tibet and stop the crackdown on Tibet.”
Vietnamese groups are also planning to rally outside the summit.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)