30 Tibetans arrested for celebrating Dalai Lama’s birthday

The Kathmandu authorities interrupted an event - scheduled for months and already authorized - to celebrate the Tibetan Buddhist leader, who turns 81. About 20 thousand members of the diaspora who fled the communist persecution live in the Himalayan country. China presses on Nepal to curb their freedom.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepalese police have arrested 30 Tibetans and interrupted a scheduled event to celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday. Those arrested denounce "acts of intimidation and entirely outside the law", as the celebration - prepared at the Songtsen Brikuti School - had already been authorized by police. Others emphasize the "long arm" of Beijing, which has long pressed on Nepal to silence the approximately 20 thousand members of the Tibetan diaspora living in the country.

An anonymous source tells Phayul newspaper: "The police have threatened all those present: leave the area or will we arrest you". Those arrested are currently in the Brikuti Mandap Police Station, in Boudha. Pema, a young Tibetan who lives nearby, said: "Anyone dressed in Tibetan or monks clothes is stopped. But we want to celebrate a peaceful holiday, the birthday of our beloved leader. Politics has nothing to do with it".

Another source adds: "We have been preparing for months, the money spent, the food and entertainment ... everything now has been wasted. But the worst thing is that the serenity of Tibetans living in Nepal has been wounded. We feel suffocated by these meaningless restrictions".

The Chinese government is using every means, including diplomacy and investment, to avoid problems with the Tibetans who do not live at home. Liu Guangyuan, general manager of the Department for Foreign Security, visited Nepal in March 2016 to ask for a direct commitment of Kathmandu against possible anti-China demonstrations. Nepalese high official Jhabindra Aryal, reassured him: "We will work to improve cooperation and shared interests. Nepal supports the one China policy and we will not allow our territory to be used against our neighbors".