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China's Growing Influence in Nepal in the Past 40 Years - 2003-06-02

The Nepalese government has historically maintained a generous attitude toward the Tibetan refugees. In the wake of the Tibetan uprising in Lhasa and the Dalai Lama's flight into exile in March of 1959, nearly 20,000 Tibetans found haven throughout Nepal.

Mr.Rinchen Dharlo,(former Representative of the Dalai Lama in Nepal) says that that he Nepalese government's tolerance of Tibetan refugees in the late 1960s was underscored by its tacit acceptance of the CIA backed Tibetan armed resistance that operated out of Mustang. From 1959 to the mid of 1970s, Tibetan refugees were allowed to remain in Nepal but had to legal status. In 1972, King Birendra ascended to the throne in Nepal, replacing King Mahendra, who had been sympathetic to the Tibetans and the Nixon Administration achieved a quiet rapprochement with China. From the Tibetan vperspective, among the casualties of this new geo-political positioning were the Tibetan guerilla army in Mustang. China's growing influence in Nepal is evident from its record of foreign aid.

Today, China continues to be a strategic aid donor to Nepal with a 50 million yuan grant in aid in the year 2000. Representative of the Dalai Lama in Nepal Wangchuk Tsering says that Nepal's linkage with Chinese economy have grown in recent years, drawing it more closely into China's sphere of influence. This warming relationship has brought Chinese pressure to silence the Tibetan community's political voice.