07/29/2013, 00.00
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Nepal follows China’s “advise” and clamps down on Tibetan refugees

by Kalpit Parajuli
As of today, 19 security cameras are active in the majority Tibetan areas of Boudhanath and Jorpati. Monks and activists for human rights define the move "anti-democratic" and accuse Kathmandu of satisfying Beijing in return for economic aid.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - As of today Nepal has initiated a program of control and surveillance of Tibetan activists and refugees present in the country. The government in Kathmandu has installed security cameras at Boudhanath Stupa and Jorpati, high-density Tibetan areas in the capital. The goal, say the authorities, is to monitor the activities of refugees, human rights activists and supporters of the Tibetan cause, to avoid any kind of anti-Chinese plan or campaign. According to AsiaNews sources, anonymous for security reasons, "the control program is the result of pressure by the Chinese government. Beijing has promised economic aid in exchange for this security service."

The program has cost the government 2.5 million Nepali rupees (about 19,800 Euros). As explained by the police, 19 CCTV cameras will monitor the activities in the Tibetan-majority areas, while 16 more cameras will be concentrated in one area of ​​the Boudhanath Stupa, a sacred place of Buddhism located in Kathmandu. According to the authorities in fact, Boudhanath and Jorpati are "the hot zone of the Free Tibet movement and anti-Chinese activities".

The Nepalese security agencies will record everything: from road and pedestrian traffic, to religious activities, even going on in the temples. Many Tibetan monks and activists have criticized the move. According to Ananda, a Buddhist religious leader, "recording prayer activities within the Boudhanath Stupa violates democratic rights."

Nepal has 1,414 kilometer long common border with Tibet and from 1990-2006 the parliamentary monarchy, on the advice of India, allowed the free movement of Tibetan exiles in the country. The Dalai Lama and members of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala (India) visited the country several times, which is home to more than 20 thousand refugees. After the abolition of the monarchy in 2006 and the rise to power of communist and Maoist formations Nepal has changed course, abandoning its historic ally India and tying closer relations with China. In exchange for economic aid, Beijing has called for the closure of the borders with Tibet and the repression of any anti-Chinese demonstration.


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