By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 14: The extradition treaty between China and Nepal which was one of the closely watched agendas during the two-day visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country has been shelved, much to the relief of some 20,000 Tibetans living in the country who stood to be directly affected by the treaty.
The much anticipated issue has been dropped for the moment following what the media in Nepal reported to a be due to “local opposition” and fears of the same infringing upon the sovereignty of the country. The Chinese President however left the country on Sunday after finalising 20 pacts including the signing of 18 memorandums of understanding and two letters of intent for developmental and infrastructure deals such as the trans-Himalayan railway and tunnelling projects that would seamlessly link the two countries.
Xi Jinping who became the first Chinese president to visit the country in two decades was said to be adamant in pushing through the extradition treaty that would allow Beijing and Kathmandu to handover criminals or suspected criminals to each other. International rights groups including Human Rights Watch raised concern that China in the past has used bogus charges, such as fraud, to imprison those who oppose its policies.
HRW said that the proposed treaty, “should not put anyone in Nepal that the Chinese government sees as a threat – including refugees, activists, and journalists – in danger of being sent back to face unfair trials or the risk of torture and other ill-treatment”.
The Tibetan refugee community in Nepal, already subjected to harsh treatment by the Kathmandu government due to its economic reliance on China, stood to be further endangered if the treaty came to fruition with many of them undocumented refugees.
The two-day visit by Xi also saw the arrest of 22 people including 11 pro-Tibet campaigners and 11 Nepalese human rights activists in an around the capital. Prior to the Chinese President’s arrival, over 80 Tibetans were blacklisted. A source also told Phayul that people who have earlier been associated with pro-Tibet activities and even celebration of the Dalai Lama’s birthday will be either detained or kept under close supervision by Nepalese special forces during the entirety of Xi’s visit.