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Nepal's growing proximity with China raises concern for Tibetan government

August 21, 2010

Gaurav Bisht
The Hindustan Times
August 18, 2010

Dharamsala, Aug. 18 -- While China's strict
measures is leading to decline in Tibetans
escaping to India, there is growing concern over
the Nepalese government shifting policy towards
Tibetan settlers in the Himalayan country.
Nepal's growing proximity with China and shift in
the policy is adding to the worries of Dalai
Lama's, Tibetan -government- in- exile. "Overall
situation in Nepal is disturbing for Tibetans
refugee living in Nepal", Migyur Dorje, Cabinet
Secretary of the Tibetan Government in exile told
Hindustan Times.  According to the Tibetan
government officials more than 15000 Tibetans
live in five different settlements in Nepal.  The
Tibetans crossing into Nepal from China
administered Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) are
being handed over to Chinese authorities.

In the recent times, three Tibetans who crossed
into Nepal from Tibet at border town Dum were
caught by the Nepalese police. They were detained
and later handed over to Chinese immigration
authorities. The two monks were identified as
Dawa, 20, and Dorjee, 21, while the woman was a
22-year-old identified as Penpa.  The unconfirmed
reports at reaching the headquarters of Tibetan
government in exile said that three Tibetans
deported were flown back to Chinese border in a helicopter.

Washington-based Tibet advocacy group
International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) report
claims that all the three Tibetans deported back
from Nepal were jailed on reaching Tibet.
Nepalese government latest move to deport the
Tibetan escapees has raised hackles with Tibetan
government in exile. "This is the first such case
reported since 2003, when 18 Tibetans, some of
them children, were detained by Nepalese police
and handed over to Chinese authorities", said
senior official in the Central Tibetan administration.

Nepal had, earlier during the Maoist coalition
rule, closed down the Tibetan Reception Centre
set up by Tibetan administration to facilitate Tibetan escapees.

Tibetan government officials at Dharamsala say
that Nepalese government has sharpened its vigil
on its borders with China, after the widespread
protest in Tibet ahead of Beijing Olympics.  The
violent protest left many dead in Tibet.  Both
China and Tibetan government in exile made
conflicting claims over the deaths in protest
that started from Lhasa and spread to other
regions dominated by ethnic Tibetans. China
claims that 200 people died but the Tibetan
government says more than 200 died and 1,000 were hurt.

Since the protest in March 2008 there has been
sharp decline in numbers of Tibetan escapees to
India. Before protest ahead of Beijing Olympics,
about 2000 to 3000 Tibetans escaped annually to
India for studies. "Chinese have sharpened their
vigil, which is leading to fears amongst Tibetans
in crossing the border", says Ngwang Norbu
Director of Tibetan Reception Centre in
Mcleodganj. Since February this year, only 700
Tibetans have arrived in Dharamsala. "Majority of
the arrivals include monks and young boys", adds
Ngwang, while adding that in coming months the
number of escapees could witness more decline as
he cites reports that Nepal and Chinese border
security have signed an pact to stop " anti-china
protest". Tibet's spiritual head who fled Lhasa
in 1959 has set up numerous schools for education
of exiles which draws Tibetans from China Administered Tibet.
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