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Nepal stops exiles from marching to Tibet, 30 held

July 29, 2008

Jul 28, 2008

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepali police detained 30 Tibetan refugees,
including nuns and monks, marching to the Tibetan border to protest
against crackdowns on anti-China demonstrators.

The exiles were picked up on Sunday from the northeastern Nepali
village of Jalbire, close to the Friendship Bridge which lies on
Nepal's border with China and is the only international gateway to
Tibet open to tourists.

"They were trying to march to Tibet and see the situation there for
themselves," said Tashi Dorjee, a refugee in Kathmandu.

The march on Sunday was the latest in a series of protests by exiled
Tibetans in Nepal since deadly anti-government riots broke out in
Tibetan capital Lhasa and other areas in China in mid-March, to mark
the anniversary of a 1959 failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Nepal, where more than 20,000 exiled Tibetans live, is the
second-biggest home for Tibetans outside Tibet after neighbouring India.

Police officer Suraj Khatri Chhetri said the refugees were being
driven to Kathmandu, where they would be handed over to immigration

Nepali police broke up a similar march by Tibetans this month and
detained 42 exiles in the same area.

Last week, New York-based Human Rights Watch said that China was
putting pressure on Nepal to crack down on protests by the Tibetans,
a charge Beijing has denied.

Nepal considers Tibet part of its influential giant neighbour China.

In India, six members of the Tibetan Youth Congress began a hunger
strike on Monday in New Delhi to protest against the Olympic Games,
which will open next month in Beijing.

"The Chinese people deserve to host the Olympic Games, but what the
Tibetans and the Chinese people deserve more now is freedom," the
organisation said in a statement.
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