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Nepal says to deport illegal Tibetans back to Tibet

September 12, 2008

Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:35am EDT
By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's Maoist-led government will deport 
Tibetan exiles living illegally in the country, an official said on 
Thursday, a move likely aimed at stopping regular protests against its 
influential neighbor China.

More than 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal. Thousands fled Tibet after a 
failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

Those early arrivals were given refugee status in Nepal. But new 
exiles from Tibet cannot stay in Nepal, which hands them over to the 
U.N. refugee agency for their onward journey to India, where their 
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama lives.

Now, Nepal wants to deport all Tibetans without either official 
refugee status or U.N. documents back to Tibet, where they could face 
action by Chinese authorities.

Tibetans are not allowed to organize any anti-China activities in 
Nepal, but in recent months they have staged near-daily demonstrations 
in Kathmandu against the Chinese crackdown on protests in Tibet in 
March.
The new Nepal move is seen as an attempt to discourage the exiles from 
organizing anti-China protests.

Home Ministry Spokesman Modraj Dotel said police had detained 106 
Tibetans to see if they had necessary papers to establish their 
refugee status.
"If they have the status they will be allowed to stay," Dotel said. 
"Otherwise, they have to leave the country."

Dotel said the verification of papers was being done with the help of 
the United Nations refugee agency.

Kathmandu considers Tibet as part of China, which appears to be 
unhappy with the way Nepali authorities were handling the protests. In 
recent months, more than 10,000 Tibetans were detained during the 
protests but were freed within a day or two.

Beijing has been pressing Nepal to do more to stop the protests, 
mainly staged outside a Chinese consular office in Kathmandu.

Nepal's new leader, Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda visited China in 
August, when he met Chinese President Hu Jintao and reaffirmed Nepal's 
one-China policy.

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