Kathmandu bans Tibetans from celebrating pro-independence uprising against China
by Christopher Sharma
Nepal's new, Congress-led government warns the exiled community that "protests would not be allowed, even if they are peaceful. People will be arrested." Tibetans all over the world still consider the 1959 insurrection an important moment in their history. China's crackdown gave birth to the Tibetan Diaspora, and forced the Dalai Lama to flee to India. For human rights activist, "This is not democracy."

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepali government has told the Tibetan community living in the country not to celebrate, even in a peaceful way, their failed anti-Chinese uprising of 10 March 1959.

For Tibetans around the world, the anniversary is very important, a reminder of the popular uprising against the domination of the Maoist military.

The Chinese government crushed the protest movement and forced the Dalai Lama to leave the country to seek refuge in India.

The new Congress-led Nepali government of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala ordered police stations to arrest demonstrators and break up activities by Tibetans living in Nepal.

"Following government orders, we have issued an alert," Kathmandu police officer Ganesh KV said. "Tibetans cannot gather. Our orders are to arrest and take legal action against anyone who protests against China".

As a result of the failed anti-Chinese uprising, a large number of Tibetans left their country and settled in India and Nepal.

Some 20,000 Tibetans live in the Himalayan nation where they are kept under tight government control to avoid problems with Beijing.

A decade ago, Nepal and China began a process of economic, political and diplomatic rapprochement. Because of it, Kathmandu is afraid of losing the business of rich Chinese entrepreneurs and has thus tried to avoid tensions with its big neighbour by every means.

When it came to power, the new government had rekindled hope in the Tibetan community, but this directive is evidence that everything has remained the way it was.

"The Congress Party claims to be democratic, but it is not able to guarantee the democratic values ​​and the right to peaceful protest of its citizens," said Gyalbo Lama, a Tibetan rights activist in Nepal.

"We have the right to gather if we do not break the law. And we should be free to pray where we want. Instead, government agents follow us and violate our rights even when we pray. This cannot be democracy."

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