10/05/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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Chinese troops shoot refugees onTibet border killing two

Communist troops stop some 42 Tibetans on the Nangpa La Pass, near Mount Everest. According to the Tibet Refugee Centre, this is the first time in many years that fleeing refugees were treated with such deadly violence.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Chinese troops stationed on the Tibet-Nepal border opened fire against a group of refugees trying to sneak across the border, killing two, the Tibet Refugee Center reported today.

Some 42 people tried to cross the border near the Nangpa La pass near Mount Everest on September 30, said Lhundup Dorjee from the Katmandu–based Tibet Refugee Centre (TRC).

The refugees left for the pass, which is located at 5,800 m (19,000 ft), where they were met by border guards.

The TRC is in contact with those who managed to cross into Nepal, but they are still far from the Nepalese capital.

Every year hundreds of Tibetan refugees escape from from Chinese occupation. They try to cross at more isolated passes which are usually unguarded.

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has been in exile in India since 1959 (when the Chinese invaded). He has repeatedly said he was willing to engage "reasonable talks" with Beijing in order to protect those Tibetans who have stayed behind in their homeland. But the Chinese government has always rejected his offer and continues to treat harshly those who flee Communist repression in their country.

While refugees have been shot at along the border in the past, the TRC said that this was the first time in recent years that troops had killed any.

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