04/18/2008, 00.00
CHINA - TIBET -NEPAL
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Hundreds of arrests among Tibetans in Nepal, but the Chinese are preparing counter-demonstrations

Zero tolerance in Kathmandu, where the police have arrested more than 500 peaceful Tibetan demonstrators. In China, anti-foreign protests are growing, together with calls to boycott foreign merchandise. Tomorrow tens of thousands of Chinese abroad will protest against the "lies" of the media, and in favour of the Olympics.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The police have arrested least 505 Tibetan exiles, including many monks and nuns, in at least three separate protests near the Chinese embassy and the United Nations office in Kathmandu.  But tomorrow, the largest Chinese communities abroad will take to the streets against "the lies of the Western press", and in favour of the Olympics.

In Nepal, the pro-Tibet protests, which had been suspended for voting, have been underway again for three days.  The police, who are out on the streets in force, are repeating that protests against friendly nations like China will not be permitted.  In previous protests, those arrested have been released after one night.  The United Nations has criticised Nepal for its use of excessive force against peaceful protesters, for beating demonstrators or dragging them through the streets.  The Maoist party, which has been recognised as the victor in the elections, is critical toward the Tibetan protests, and supports the Chinese communist party.

Meanwhile, in China, anti-foreign protests are spreading, with growing calls for boycotts of products from countries accused of supporting the independence of Tibet.  Chinese websites have been overrun by calls not to buy French merchandise, and to boycott the 122 Carrefour supermarkets in China,  after pro-Tibetan protests blocked the progress of the Olympic torch in Paris.  The state news agency Xinhua has had to intervene to call upon people to contain their "patriotic zeal", and not to compromise the Chinese policy of openness to foreign goods and investments, but to transform this zeal "into concrete actions to do one's own work well". The Carrefour group employs about 40,000 Chinese.

Protests are scheduled tomorrow in London, Paris, Berlin, and other places, among the tens of thousands of resident Chinese. From Paris, one Chinese student says on a website that the protest is intended "to demonstrate support for the Beijing Olympics and to protest against the biased Western media", which are accused of reporting only the anti-Chinese protests that have taken place in London, Paris, and San Francisco, ignoring the many thousands of Chinese present who have welcomed the passage of the torch with joy and pride.  Chinese communities abroad plan demonstrations all over the world, from Australia to Holland.  Thousands are expected to gather before parliament in Ottawa on April 20.

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