Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepali soldiers and police continue to engage in abusive behaviour against Tibetan refugees as the latter mark the 60th anniversary of China’s invasion of their country. The latest example involves a young Tibetan activist who was raped by a soldier near the Buddhist temple of Swoyambhunath (Kathmandu) as she was buying a Tibetan flag. The authorities confirmed the incident, saying the soldier was arrested after local Tibetans staged a protest against police.
The young woman, who is from Ramechap, a district near the border with Tibet, told police that the man had been stalking her for days, and that he was abusive towards her because of her support for the Tibetan cause. The soldier did confess to the crime, but did not provide any explanations for his action.
Tsering Lama, a Tibetan activist, said that Nepali authorities, in order to meet their obligations under an agreement with Beijing, “ordered security forces to crack down on anti-Chinese demonstrations by any means, including violence against activists.”
“We have to stick to our one-China policy,” said Milan Tuladhar, an aide to Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal. However, “this does not mean that security forces can violate human rights.”
The authorities deployed more than 1,500 soldiers and police agents in anticipation of anti-Chinese demonstrations in front of China’s Embassy in Kathmandhu and areas with Tibetan residents.
Following China’s invasion of Tibet in 1951 and the Dalai Lama’s flight in 1959, Nepal welcomed thousands of Tibetan refugees. Traditionally, it also allowed them to show their support for the Tibetan government-in-exile. At present, Nepal is home to about 20,000 Tibetan refugees.
Following the collapse of the monarchy in 2006 and the rise to power of Nepal’s Communist parties, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist), the country has developed close economic ties with China, banning all anti-Chinese activities by Tibetan exiles.
For example, on 13 February, police entered polling stations where Tibetans were voting in communal elections and seized election equipment as well as ballot boxes to prevent elections from taking place.