04/04/2008, 00.00
NEPAL - TIBET - CHINA
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Tibetans in Nepal: no more demonstrations, too many threats from the government

by Kalpit Parajuli
Officially, the Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu are interrupting the anti-Chinese protests out of respect for the upcoming government elections. In reality, the government has warned them: those who continue to demonstrate will be imprisoned indefinitely.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Tibetans in exile in Nepal have interrupted their anti-Chinese protests, after the government threatened to extend "indefinitely" the detention of demonstrators apprehended last week.  The official reason, nonetheless, is "respect for the government elections next week".

Over the last two weeks, the Tibetan residents in Kathmandu have demonstrated every day before the Chinese embassy, to protest against the violent repression of the demonstrations in Lhasa.  The Nepalese government has responded by arresting the demonstrators, in a sign of strong support for the policies of neighbouring China.

Thupden Tenzing Jamphel, chairman of the group "Nepal Tibetan Volunteer Youth for Free Tibet",  explains: "We have called off our anti-China protest in Kathmandu in view of the upcoming elections in Nepal". However, he adds immediately, "We have received warnings from the home ministry saying that they will keep us in jail for days if we are arrested".

At least 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal, arriving there in 1959 after the exile of the Dalai Lama.  The country, squeezed between China and India, accepts the "one China" policy, and considers Tibet and Taiwan inseparable parts of the Chinese government.  Kathmandu has demonstrated on a number of occasions that it wants to maintain good relations with Beijing, the country's main trade partner.

For its part, China responds in kind to the courtesy of Nepal, and looks "indulgently" on the recent demonstrations.  According to Zheng Xiangling, the Chinese envoy to Nepal, "the demonstrators have been misled by false accusations spread by the Dalai Lama's clique. The feelings of Tibetans living in Nepal are understandable because they do not know the truth. After they realise the truth, they will show resentment towards them because the violence in Lhasa has hurt so many people".

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