You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Nepal’ category.

43 Tibetans were arrested earlier today by the Nepalese police. The Tibetans were staging a protest demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy’s visa section to mark the sixth month of this year’s uprising on March 10.

The Tibetans staged a street play depicting Chinese atrocities in Tibet and the sufferings of the Tibetan people. They also raised slogans against the Chinese government’s harsh policies in Tibet, and called for peaceful solution of the Tibet issue. The Tibetans also prayed for Dalai Lama’s long life.

Officers from Nepal’s immigration office and Kathmandu’s Chief District Office demanded Registration Certificate (RC), a permit issued by the Nepalese government for the Tibetans to reside in Nepal, from the Tibetans at the protest site. Nepal has earlier deported Tibetans without permit apparently under China’s instructions.

The 72 Tibetans who were arrested yesterday are still in police custody. It is the first time since March that the Tibetans arrested for protesting were detained for more than 24 hours by Nepalese police. There is an apparent fear among the Tibetans that the Maoists-led new government will tighten its grip on the Tibetans in Nepal and curb protests against China.

The 43 Tibetans arrested today are held at two separate police stations.

Nepal has witnessed one of the strongest and most frequent protests by Tibetans despite the fact that no major NGOs were involved in the organization and leadership of the protests. The Tibetans in Nepal have formed ‘Tibetan Volunteers Group’ following the March uprising in Tibet, and have been initiating demonstrations and protests voluntarily.

Nepalese police Friday broke up an anti-China protest in the capital Kathmandu and arrested over 150 Tibetan exiles. The Tibetans, including Buddhist monks and nuns, were arrested near the Chinese embassy in central Kathmandu.

Police in riot gear stopped the protestors about 200 metres from the embassy’s consular section. Minor scuffles then broke out as the protestors tried to breach the police lines.

The protestors were dragged into waiting vans and police trucks to be taken to detention centres.

“More than 150 Tibetans were arrested after they tried to march on to the Chinese embassy’s consular section,” Kathmandu district police office said. “We expect most of them to be released by Friday night.”

Many Tibetans carried placards and Tibetan flags and chanted slogans including “We want a free Tibet” and “Long live the Dalai Lama.”

The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations by Tibetan exiles since 10 March.
Nepal has more than 20,000 Tibetans concentrated mainly in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara in the west.

The figure does not include Tibetans who arrived in the country after 1990, when the Nepalese government stopped registering them as refugees.

Estimates said about 3,000 Tibetans arrive in Nepal each year crossing dangerous mountain passes and risking their lives to flee Chinese rule.

The Nepalese government has repeatedly said it considers Tibet to be part of China and will not tolerate anti-Chinese activities.

International human rights organizations have criticized Nepal for its handling of the protests and accused the government of cracking down on the refugees under Chinese pressure.

Nepalese police have arrested some 560 Tibetan women, including many Buddhist nuns, after breaking up demonstrations against China’s crackdown in Tibet.

In the first example of all-women protests, three rallies in Kathmandu were quickly stopped by police.

It was the biggest round-up since Tibetan exiles began near daily demonstrations in March.

Protestors wearing black armbands wept and shouted “We want free Tibet” as they were dragged to police vans.

Police said those detained were being held in detention centres around the capital, and would be freed later.

Kathmandu is home to thousands of Tibetan exiles who have mounted almost daily protests against Beijing since deadly riots broke out in the Tibetan capital Lhasa in March.

Rioting erupted after days of protests pivoting around the anniversary of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

More than 20,000 Tibetans have been living in Nepal since fleeing their Himalayan homeland after the failed uprising and China’s subsequent crack-down.

Nepal says it cannot allow Tibetans to demonstrate because it recognises Tibet as an integral part of China.

But the UN says the mass arrests are against the spirit of a society governed by the rule of law.

William Holland was only thinking of the photograph. When he got to the top of Everest he planned to take the rolled-up flag saying “Free Tibet” from his rucksack, pose for posterity with the banner as a backdrop and then roll it away again before starting back down. He was not looking to make a scene.

But that is exactly what transpired. Someone in the group he was climbing with informed the Nepalese authorities of Mr Holland’s flag. When he reached Everest Base Camp he was ordered from the mountain and told to go straight to Kathmandu. From there he was deported from Nepal with an order not to return for two years.

The 26-year-old US climber’s treatment at the hands of the Nepalese authorities is just one indication of how the world’s highest mountain has in recent days become engulfed by the politics and controversy surrounding China and its relationship with Tibet.

As Chinese climbers seek to reach Everest’s summit carrying a replica of the Olympic torch, the Nepalese government has closed down the upper areas of the mountain within its own borders and ordered everyone to stay away from the summit. It has even told the dozens of security personnel dispatched to the mountain they can shoot protesters seeking to disrupt the Chinese ascent.

The behaviour of the Nepalese has been widely criticised, not only by pro-Tibet activists and human rights campaigners but also by mountaineers who say that the 29,029ft peak – straddling the border of China and Nepal – should remain loftily above politics. They insist the actions of the Nepalese government – which is desperate to remain on good terms with China – are a severe overreaction.

“It’s ridiculous. The Chinese have basically bought themselves a mountain. It’s all about money and politics,” said Mr Holland, now home in Virginia.

“I don’t know if the Nepalese are filling their coffers because of this. It’s not as though the Tibetan flag is banned in Nepal – you see it all over the place.” The embroiling of Everest in the controversy surrounding the China-Tibet issue dates from April last year when the Beijing Games organising committee revealed the route the Olympic torch would take. The committee said it would pass through more than 20 countries on six continents and travel more than 85,000 miles, the longest journey of any Olympic torch.

“The Olympic torch relay is one of the most important ceremonies and a major means to spread and promote the Olympic spirit,” claimed the committee’s president, Liu Qi. “As one of the grand ceremonies for the Beijing Olympic Games, the torch relay of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games has set its theme as the Journey of Harmony.”

As part of the journey of harmony envisaged by Liu Qi, it was announced that once the Olympic flame was transferred from Greece to Beijing, another torch would be lit and this new flame would then be carried to the top of Everest, known in China as Mount Qomolangma. “One of the highlights of this leg will be the attempt to bring the Olympic flame to the highest peak in the world,” said the Chinese.

Just as the main torch has become a lightning rod for pro-Tibetan protests wherever it has appeared, the attempt to bring the second flame to the summit of Everest has also run into problems and controversy. The protests followed the violent crackdown by the Chinese authorities of protests in March in Lhasa and surrounding areas in support of Tibetan autonomy.

So fearful are the Chinese that the second flame will attract similar protests, the authorities have instituted a media clampdown. This included the farcical ending of a BBC correspondent’s attempts to film for an online diary at a base camp on the Chinese side of the mountain.

“Clambering breathlessly down from the ridge we were herded towards our next briefing. In a week that has seen a lot of pointless briefings, this one broke new ground,” wrote Jonah Fisher. “A crew of firemen explained how in this rocky, barren and almost entirely plantless landscape there was a severe risk of fire. There followed a demonstration of their surprisingly powerful hose.”

Last night, the Chinese climbers and their propane-fuelled torch were holed up at 21,300ft at Advanced Base Camp, waiting for better weather before heading for the summit.

On the other side of the mountain, the authorities in Kathmandu have announced a 10-day ban on all climbing beyond Everest’s Base 2, located at 21,300ft.

Apparently acting on a request from Beijing, they have banned the unauthorised use of satellite phones, video recorders and radios. Any mountaineer found speaking to journalists could also be expelled from the mountain. Police and troops have been authorised to fire at any protesters who make their way to Everest.

Yesterday, Human Rights Watch said it had written to the Nepalese authorities urging them to rescind the order. “The Nepal authorities should be using whatever means necessary to protect basic human rights, not violate them,” said spokeswoman Sophie Richardson. “With the world watching, this is the moment for Nepal’s new government to prove that it aspires and adheres to international standards.”

The response of Nepal to the pro-Tibet protests that have broken out around the world has been among the most harsh of any government other than China. Hundreds of Tibetan monks and activists were arrested and detained after demonstrations outside the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu.

Its behaviour has been driven by its desire to cement good relations with its powerful neighbour, a policy that is unlikely to alter following the recent elections that saw the country’s Maoist party win the largest number of seats. Trapped between China and India, Nepal believes it needs to have good relations with both huge countries. But does Nepal need to go so far in doing China’s bidding, especially in regard to Mount Everest? Many believe not.

Those who have ascended the mountain say it retains a unique symbolism and insist it should not become a political battle ground. Sir Chris Bonnington, the climber from Cumbria who has led four expeditions to Everest and who himself stood on the summit in 1985 at the age of 50, said: “It’s just a real pity and very, very sad a whole mountain has to be closed down because the Chinese are worried that someone will interfere with their precious flame.”

Sir Chris said that the decision to award the Olympics to China came with an undertaking that journalists would be allowed to report freely on preparations for the Games and the country would improve its human rights record. He said that had not happened. “This whole thing is political … as was the decision to give the games to China,” he added. “But, so was the decision to award the games to London.”

Stephen Venables, the first Briton to climb Everest without additional oxygen, described what was happening on the mountain, as a “circus”. “My view is that the Chinese claim to sovereignty in Tibet is spurious to say the least, that the whole Olympic circus has become an absurd political propaganda charade and that it’s monstrous that not only should [the Chinese] stop climbers going to Tibet but that they can tell people what to do on the other side,” he said. “It just seems outrageous that they can tell Nepal to stop people climbing the mountain so they can continue with this circus of blatant propaganda.”

Yesterday an expedition headed by the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who is climbing Everest to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity, said it was told that the Nepalese ban would only last for two days. At the moment this group is waiting at Base Camp on the Nepalese side for permission to continue their ascent.

What is certainly true, is that the quicker the Chinese complete their ascent with the Olympic flame and take their own photographs (without the backdrop of banner saying “Free Tibet”), the quicker the soldiers and police will be told to lower their weapons and life will get back to what passes for normal on Everest.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Midlothian, Virginia, Mr Holland, the climber who has been sent home, prepares to return to his day job with a tree cutting company. Since being ordered out of Nepal, he has had time to reflect both on what happened to him and what is happening to the country whose flag he was carrying.

“I feel the Tibetan cause is a worthy cause but I would not describe myself as a hardline activist,” he said last night. “I definitely think it’s a shame what is happening.”

By Tenzin Choephel
Phayul Correspondent

Kathmandu, April 21: Over 200 Tibetan volunteers staged a peaceful demonstration at the UN House in Pulchowk, Kathmandu this afternoon to request UN’s intervention in alleviating the alleged mal-treatment of Tibetans by Chinese Communist authorities inside Tibet. Tibetans were able to protest for about 30 minutes before they were arrested.

About 139 people were arrested and are now detained at Metropolitan Police Range Lalitpur, Jwalakhel. During the arrest, two women protesters sustained injuries.

The protest started at around 2:20 PM when over 200 Tibetans arrived near the UN House intersection. The protesters tried to push towards the UN House’s main gate but Police stopped and cornered them at the intersection, and started arresting them. As usual, protesters resisting arrest were lathi-charged, kicked and punched.

Many, including women, were dragged and shoved into Police vehicles. Among the protesters was a 13-year old Tibetan boy also.

At the time of filing this story, those arrested Tibetans were still held under detention.

Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged the Government of Nepal to stop illegal detention of Tibetans and to respect their right to peaceful expression and assembly. The rights group noted that the police arrested over 2500 Tibetan protestors in the past five weeks.

“The government cannot be selective about who in Nepal is entitled to such basic rights – Tibetans there are entitled to peaceful expression and assembly too,” Sophie Richardson, HRW’s Asia advocacy director, said in a statement.

Tibetan protestors have been regularly demonstrating in Kathmandu since March 10, the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising day.

At a site in the sacred Swayambhu hill, groups of Tibetans have been carrying out a 24-hour relay hunger strike. The chain hunger strike has entered its ninth consecutive day and over 550 people have participated in the sit-in protest so far.

The Kantipur Daily Nepali language newspaper today said that the Chinese Government has agreed to give Nepali Government a loan of 20 million US dollars at 1.75 % interest rate for the 60-megawatt Upper Trishuli hydro power station. Nepali Government has reiterated that it could not tolerate any anti-China activities on its soil.

China’s lavishing economic aid to Nepal and Nepal’s kowtowing to China has created a hard situation for Tibetan refugees in Nepal.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Olympic torch arrived in Malaysia on Sunday ahead of a relay that is expected to take place under heavy security, while other countries in the region tried to minimize the potential for conflict when the torch is scheduled to arrive in their respective countries.

The flame arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport early Sunday on a plane from Bangkok, where the relay had been greeted by a few small protests. Some 300 Chinese students studying in Malaysia greeted the flame at the airport, as did representatives from the Malaysian National Sports Council and the police. Separately, a Buddhist group held special prayers at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, calling for a trouble-free torch run and for peaceful Olympics Games in August.

The Malaysian part of the relay is expected to begin Monday at Independence Square in central Kuala Lumpur.

The global torch relay, the longest in Olympic history, has become a magnet for protests by critics of China’s human rights record and its handling of recent protests in Tibet.

In Malaysia, some 1,000 police and security officers will be deployed on Monday, even though the police have not received reports of any planned protests, said a police spokesman who declined to reveal his identity, citing protocol. Roads along the 16-kilometer, or 10-mile, course will be closed to traffic.

In Nepal, soldiers and police officers guarding the slopes of Mount Everest have been given authorization to use “whatever means” required in the event of protests during the Olympic torch’s run to the summit of the mountain in early May.

The police and soldiers “have been given orders to stop any protest on the mountain using whatever means necessary, including use of weapons,” said Modraj Dotel, a spokesman for the Nepalese Home Ministry. He added that such force was to be used as a last resort, and that officers would first try to persuade protesters to leave and would arrest those who refused to do so.

Twenty-five soldiers and police officers have already established camps on the mountain, Dotel said, adding that more troops would be sent if required.

In Australia, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith appealed on television Sunday for restraint from those who planned to come to see the flame’s run in Canberra on Thursday.

“I urge people if they do turn up,” Smith said, “that whatever point of view they want to put, they put that point of view peacefully and do it in a way in which Australians would regard as appropriate,” Smith said.

“I’m very concerned that unless people turn up with that attitude we’ll have the Olympic torch equivalent of football hooliganism.”

The police in Canberra have erected steel fences along the relay route to keep demonstrators at bay. Separately, Australian war veterans have pleaded that the country respect a “peace precinct” on Thursday, which is one day before memorial day in Australia that honors veterans of World War I.

In Japan, Zenkoji Temple, a major Buddhist temple in Nagano, was sprayed with graffiti just days after the city withdrew a plan to host the torch relay there, the police said. The graffiti – consisting of white circular patterns and lines – was found Sunday morning in six spots of the main hall at the temple, the Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Zenkoji Temple was originally intended to be the starting point for the Japan leg of the Olympic torch relay next Saturday. But officials at the temple withdrew from the plan on Friday, citing security concerns and sympathy for Tibetan protesters.

A group of more than 20 Tibetan schoolchildren has staged a protest in the main United Nations compound in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. A UN spokesman said the children, aged between 15 and 18, and dressed in school uniform scaled the wall.

This is the boldest Tibetan protest in nearly three weeks in Kathmandu.

Tibetan exiles say police have also arrested nearly 90 of their community as their demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet continue.

A UN spokesman told the BBC the 21 students apologised to senior officials and guards for entering the UN compound.

The children said they wanted to draw attention to the crisis in Tibet and unfurled a flag featuring independence slogans for the Chinese-ruled region, the spokesman said.