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Nepal’s Shame

Published online April 16, 2014 by US News and World Report.
By Ellen Bork

Nepal is doing China’s bidding by mistreating Tibetans.

In late 2011, I visited Kathmandu to look into the situation of Tibetan refugees. Nepal provides a home to a community of approximately 20,000 refugees who left Tibet after the 1959 departure of the Dalai Lama; in 1989, no longer willing to allow settlement by newly arrivals, it became a way station to Tibetan refugees on their way to India. The 1989 change in policy was made in response to Chinese pressure, and I’d heard that under even greater pressure, Nepali authorities were mistreating Tibetan residents and even intercepting and repatriating refugees to China.

I didn’t have to wait long to see some evidence first hand. While on my way to call on an unofficial representative of the Dalai Lama, my driver got a call saying that the representative had been taken to the police station. He was later released. On the same day, a visiting U.S. official working for an undersecretary of state with responsibility for the Tibet issues portfolio also encountered police at her various appointments in the Tibetan community. Later we were advised that the harassment was probably related to the holding of a Tibetan mourning ceremony for a prominent figure and that Beijing had signaled its displeasure, leading to the harassment of various Tibetans.

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