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China Accused of Pressuring Nepal on Tibetan Exiles

A leading rights organization says the government of Nepal is bowing to pressure from China by arbitrarily arresting hundreds of Tibetan exiles.

Human Rights Watch released a report Thursday saying the Nepalese government has also used unnecessary force in arresting Tibetans, who gather almost daily in the capital, Kathmandu, to protest Chinese rule in their homeland.

The U.S.-based group said security forces have sexually assaulted women during arrest, beaten demonstrators in detention, and threatened them with deportation to China.

Nepal's Home Secretary, Umesh Mainali, told the Associated Press that the allegation that China is telling the Nepalese government what to do is totally false. Mainali also said security forces are not targeting Tibetans or stopping them from peaceful protests. He added that protesters seized by police are not charged but merely held for a short time.

Tibetan exiles in Nepal have been holding demonstrations against China since March, when deadly clashes broke out between protesters and Chinese authorities in Tibet.

Nepal is home to about 20-thousand Tibetan refugees.