By Tenzin Dharpo
The Tatopani border point between Nepal and occupied Tibet. photo-Nepalkhabar
DHARAMSHALA, July 20: Two Tibetan men and a Chinese man have reportedly been detained by Nepalese border security personnel on Tuesday night at the Tatopani border point in Kodari in Sindhupal chowk district. The three men were trying to cross into occupied Tibet, sources said.
The Nepalese government’s immigration wing in Kathmandu identified the detainees as Wanbo, 20, a Chinese living in Shigatse, Kunga, 25, and Lophankhu, 37, both residents of Lhasa. Authorities have said that the two Tibetans who identified themselves as refugees did not possess valid documents while the Chinese man carried an expired visa.
The two Tibetan refugees showed student identity cards of academic institutions of Arunachal Pradesh and had entered Nepal more than a year ago, The Himalayan
A Tibetan living in Dharamshala on the condition of anonymity told Phayul
that more and more Tibetans living in exile are risking incarceration and worse fate, trying to cross into Tibet through borders by themselves, with the Chinese embassy in New Delhi turning down majority of visa applications to Tibet. “I haven’t seen my parents for more than fifteen years. My application to visit Tibet was rejected by the Chinese embassy in Delhi. I am afraid I won’t be able to see my aging parents ever again. They can’t come here and I cannot go there,” he said.
Tibetans in exile who have left Tibet for a better education and freedom from Chinese rule are cut off from their family inside Tibet. While communication lines have opened up with micro-messaging apps such as Wechat over the last few years, physical borders linking occupied Tibet to Nepal have been more scrutinised than ever before.
The Chinese government is pushing for joint security patrols along the Nepal-China border points to further choke the route for Tibetan refugees that seek to cross into freedom from Chinese rule. In September 30, 2006 Western climbers shot a footage of Chinese border police firing at Tibetans and killing a woman, crossing into Nepal.
Increasingly militarised borders and strict deportation practices, among other factors, have meant that the number of Tibetans crossing into exile has dwindled drastically over the years. According to another source who wishes to remain anonymous, less than 50 Tibetans crossed into exile and reached Dharamshala, the exile seat of the Tibetan government in exile in the year 2017 while less than 10 have returned back to Tibet after fulfilling the extremely strict official vetting process.