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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Friday, July 25, 2003


WASHINGTON, July 25, 2003--Chinese authorities have released eight of 18
Tibetan asylum-seekers forcibly repatriated from Nepal in May, Radio Free
Asia (RFA) reports. Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said the
remaining 10 would-be refugees are expected to be released soon.

Their release comes earlier than expected. Chinese authorities told RFA in
June that most of the group would be held for three months of re-education
in Shigatse. One said the adults in the group could face criminal charges.

"The 10 who are still in the Shigatse (in Chinese, Xigaze) Detention Center
had no relatives who could pay to get them out, so they're still in there,"
one source told RFA's Tibetan service. "All 18 were handed over to the
Shigatse Detention Center [in June]. So far eight have arranged their
release with help from relatives who paid the fines, and some officials who
helped them through the back door."

The eight asylum-seekers who have been released were held in Shigatse
between 20 and 30 days. Three are women. The names of those who have been
freed weren't immediately available. Only one of the Tibetans, accused of
guiding this or other groups in attempted escapes, is expected to be given a
prison sentence.

No comment was immediately available from authorities in China or the
Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).

The group was handed over to Chinese Embassy officials in Nepal on May 31
despite appeals by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees--prompting an
outcry from Britain and the United States.

The 18 Tibetans, including women and children, entered Nepal in April hoping
to reach the northern Indian base of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual
leader. They were arrested and held for two months on charges of entering
Nepal illegally.

Every year, hundreds of Tibetans cross over to Nepal on their way to
Dharamsala in India, where the Dalai Lama has been living since he fled
Tibet more than 40 ago. They are ordinarily kept in a transit camp in
Kathmandu pending interviews with the UNHCR, which facilitates their travel
to India. Only those with criminal records are deported to China.

The Tibetan asylum-seekers are identified as: Thupten Tsering 18; Lobsang
Tenzen, 28; Kalsang Wangdu, 19; Tashi Choedon, 19; Yonten, 17; Rinchen
Dolma, 17; Lobsang Jampa, 23; Tashi, 22; Tsultrim Gyatso, 17; Tenzen Nyima,
14; Lobsang Phuntsok, 21; Yeshi, 13; Rinchen Dhondup, 14; Gelek, 30; Yeshi
Wangpo, 23; Lobsang Tenpa, 23; Yeshi Sangpo, 23; and Lobsang, 25.

Last month, another group of 19 Tibetans was arrested and handed over to the
UNHCR for investigation. The commission is making arrangements for them to
travel to Dharamsala.

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Head of Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism Visiting Washington, D.C.
  2. Personal Space
  3. China accuses India of border incursion
  4. Squaring off against Slander: Protesting Michael

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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