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Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Published at 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK

UK Politics

Jiang faces fresh protests

President Jiang inspects the First Battalion of the Welsh Guards

Chinese President Jiang Zemin is expected to face further protests against his country's occupation of Tibet on the second full day of his visit to Britain.

BBC News' Nicholas Witchell reports on the continuing protests
Highlights of his day include travelling down the Thames to tour the Millennium Dome and watching a rehearsal of Julius Caesar at the Globe Theatre.

In the evening he will attend a banquet at London's Guildhall given by the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London.

Demonstrators have planned a series of candlelit vigils and mass rallies for his three-day visit.

[ image: A protester is arrested on the Mall]
A protester is arrested on the Mall
On Tuesday two protesters were arrested on the Mall, and others demonstrated outside Buckingham Palace during a state banquet given by the Queen.

Some 200 people, including members of Amnesty International and the Free Tibet Campaign, waved flags, sang traditional songs and chanted "Long Live the Dalai Lama".

Tushi Thuntsok, chairman of the Tibetan community in Britain, said President Jiang's presence in the UK was "outrageous" and added: "Britain has shown that trade comes before ethics."

Inside the palace, 180 guests heard the Queen tell President Jiang in her official welcome speech: "We take great satisfaction in the much closer relationship between our two countries."

Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales, who has met the Dalai Lama, also attended the banquet.

The BBC's Bridget Kendall: "Protestors waved Tibetan flags and chanted slogans"
A tight security operation is marking the first visit to Britain by a Chinese head of state, with some protesters complaining they have been prevented from demonstrating.

The Chinese foreign ministry has warned the UK Government not to let protests over Tibet and China's human rights record overshadow the state visit.

'Hostile elements'

"Every country has the right to guarantee the basic freedom of its citizens, but every government has the right to extend good hospitality to its guests," spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said.

[ image:  ]
"If a small number of hostile elements want to stage protests during President Jiang's visit to Britain and other European countries, it will undermine the relations between China and these European countries."

But junior Foreign Office minister Baroness Scotland of Asthal said in a Lords written reply that the government would continue to urge the Chinese to enter into discussions with Tibetan leader-in-exile the Dalai Lama as the "only realistic solution" to the issue of the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

She said: "The prime minister will indeed raise the question of human rights in China, including Tibet" at a meeting on Thursday.

President Jiang has a reputation for being particularly sensitive to protests against his government.

During a visit to Switzerland in March he was said to be angered that pro-Tibet demonstrators were allowed to get close to him and later told the Swiss parliament: "You have lost a good friend."

President Jiang's stay in Britain comes at the start of a major tour that will also take him to France, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

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