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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Nepal police hunt for Dalai Lama's representative

June 22, 2008

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Thaindian News
June 19th, 2008

Kathmandu, June 19 (IANS) In a manner reminiscent of the royal regime
of deposed king Gyanenda, when midnight knocks and arbitrary arrests
were the order of the day, Nepal Police Thursday began swooping down
on leaders of the Tibetan community in the Himalayan nation,
arresting three from their homes and beginning a search for the Dalai
Lama's representative. As policemen in plain clothes began rounding
up the community leaders, a fresh protest erupted before the Chinese
embassy in the capital, resulting in the arrest of nearly 1,000 Tibetans.

Armed with an arrest warrant signed by Jaya Mukunda Dev Khanal, the
chief district officer of Kathmandu, police arrested Kelsang Chung,
director of the Tibetan Reception Centre (TRC), Ngawang Sangmo,
president of the Regional Tibetan Women's Association, and its
vice-president Tashi Dolma.

They were arrested on the charge that they were impacting public
peace and security by taking part in anti-China demonstrations in
public places in Nepal and tarnishing the friendly and diplomatic
relations between Nepal and China.

The arrest warrant, valid for 90 days, is the most severe measure
slapped on Tibetans since the diaspora began protests in March. It
comes after the Chinese ambassador to Nepal Zheng Xianglin said the
Nepal government must impose severe punishments on protesters to show
that it was serious about not allowing Nepal's soil to be used for
anti-China activities.

However, Trinley Gyatso, the Dalai Lama's representative in Nepal,
was not at home when police arrived there and escaped arrest. His
whereabouts are currently unknown.

On the heels of the arrests, over 1,000 Tibetans staged a
demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy Thursday, demanding an
investigation into the deaths allegedly in police firing in Tibet in
March and release of people taken prisoners for taking part in the protests.

The demonstration coincides with the arrival of the controversial
Olympic torch in Tibet.

The arrests in Nepal, ironically, come on the eve of World Refugee
Day, to be observed Friday.

Even as Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), called for the protection of refugees from his office in
Geneva, his office in Kathmandu remained silent on the arrest of
Chung, who works in coordination with the UNHCR to provide a safe
passage for the fleeing Tibetans who arrive in Nepal from Tibet.

Beijing has been trying to get the TRC shut down. On the eve of king
Gyanendra's coup, it had succeeded in getting the Nepal government to
close down the office of the Dalai Lama's representative in
Kathmandu. It also pressured Nepal into cancelling the permission
given to an NGO to work for the Tibetan community.
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