A few dozen protesters in Seattle set up camp early Tuesday morning outside the Westin hotel where Chinese President Xi Jinping was scheduled to stay during a two-day visit to the city. Their goal? Calling attention to China’s human rights violations.

Xi was scheduled to land in Washington state Tuesday morning local time, the Seattle Times reported. He was scheduled to head to Washington, D.C. Thursday for a meeting with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice before heading to New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly there.



Activists and protestors have been calling attention to China’s human rights record for the months ahead of Xi's visit, urging the White House to cancel it in light of growing human rights violations by Chinese authorities. A July petition to the White House called for the U.S. to suspend “all official exchanges with the Chinese government” after officials in China detained nearly 145 human rights lawyers and activists. Members of cultural or ethnic groups that have been persecuted by China have also planned protests.

Tibetan protesters, for instance, have called for a rally Friday in Washington, D.C., saying, "under Xi Jinping’s rule, the brutal crackdown in Tibet has intensified and Tibetans in Tibet are living in a climate of fear and terror."

The protesters so far in Seattle appeared to hail from or at least support one particular group that has long felt victimized by the Chinese government: Falun Gong, a Chinese religious movement founded in 1992 that the Chinese government has dubbed a cult.

One picture tweeted by a local reporter showed these protesters outside a Starbucks Coffee Shop, holding a blue banner with white lettering in English and Chinese that read, “Forced Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners Is Not Tolerated By Heavenly Principles.”



In 1999, the Chinese government cracked down on the group, arresting 100 Falun Gong leaders and imprisoning some of them for up to a dozen years, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Some of those members died under mysterious circumstances while detained.



For others, Xi’s visit was simply a cause for traffic headaches. The streets in the area surrounding the Westin were closed for two days during Xi’s visit, wreaking havoc on traffic patterns. Public transit operators geared up for detours and extra traffic during Xi’s visit.