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China Paying Nepal to Arrest Tibetan Refugees: WikiLeaks

  • VOA News

The latest set of Wikileaks reveal that China could have rewarded Nepal security officials to arrest Tibetans attempting to enter Nepal.

“Chinese government rewards (Nepali forces) by providing financial incentives to officers who hand over Tibetans attempting to exit China,” the confidential diplomatic cable created by the US embassy in New Delhi on February 22 quoted an unnamed source as saying.

Nepal and Tibet have a common border of 1,414 km with 34 major passes between the two. Each year, thousands of Tibetans refugees try to cross over, both via road and the snow-clad passes, facing grave threats to their lives.

They have previously been given safe passage through Nepal under an informal agreement between the government and the UN refugee agency put in place in 1989, when Nepal stopped giving them refugee status. They are then given UN assistance to travel on to India, where the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

However the number of the Tibetan refugees escaping from Nepal has decreased in the recent years following China’s growing influence in Nepal. Since 2008, Nepal has hardened its stance on the Tibetan refugees, a trend observed in the Himalayan country’s increasing ties with China.

Nepal is home to about 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against the Chinese delegates.

Nepal's major parties adhere to the 'One China' policy, regarding Tibet as an integral part of China and keeping Tibetan refugees in Nepal on a tight leash.

Some information for this report was provided by Guardian, Hindustan Times and AFP.