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Chinese delegation woos Nepal against Tibetan demonstrations
Phayul[Wednesday, July 01, 2009 21:29]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, July 1: Worried by the resumption of anti-China protests in Nepal by Tibetan refugees, Beijing took not time in sending yet another high-level delegation to Kathmandu to seek the new government's support to quell them.

Zhang Jiuhuan, a former ambassador to Nepal and current politburo member of the Communist Party of China, Wednesday met Nepal’s new Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala to register his government’s concern at the fresh eruption of 'Free Tibet' protests, according to media reports.

Zhang and his team arrived in Kathmandu Wednesday leading, just five days after Nepal police arrested several Tibetans protesters near the Tibet border.

Around 35 Tibetans, including eight women, were trying to cross the Nepal border and reach the Chinese-occupied Tibet to stage protest march that would draw attention to the ‘violation of human rights’ in their homeland.

According to foreign ministry sources, koirala had reportedly assured the Chinese visitor that Nepal was committed to preventing anti-China activities on its soil.

China is also reportedly concerned at some Nepalese lawmakers’ recent visit to Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet’s Government in exile in north India.

The lawmakers assured the exile Tibetan community in the Indian town that after their return to Kathmandu, they would ask the coalition government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to allow the office of the Dalai Lama’s representative in Nepal to re-open.

The office, started after 1959, was shut down in 2005 after then king Gyanendra sought the support of the Chinese government for his coup.

The lawmakers also pledged they would lobby the Nepal government to issue fresh identity cards to the Tibetans who have been seeking refuge in Nepal.

Another delegation of human rights activists from Nepal also visited Dharamsala this week and met with the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Tibetan government. The group expressed support for the protection of human rights of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal before returning to their country.

The Chinese delegation’s visit to Nepal is not new.

China has been regularly sending official delegation to force Nepal to effectively curb "Free-Tibet activities” on its soil. In return China promised to increase assistance to the crisis-ridden country.

Beijing has reportedly stepped up overtures to the new government of Nepal and currently, a delegation of Nepali authors and writers is said to be visiting China at the invitation of the Chinese government.

Zhang also issued an invitation to Koirala and her father, former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who remains one of the key players in Nepal’s politics, to visit China.

Tibetans exiles in Nepal last year staged some of the most dramatic and sustained demonstrations in Kathmandu, targeting the Chinese embassy, its visa office and the United Nations after unrest against Chinese rule in Tibet faced brutal Chinese military crackdown.

An estimated 156,000 Tibetans live in exile, a majority of them in India and Nepal. According to statistics, Nepal has more than 20,000 Tibetans refugees concentrated mainly in the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara in Western Nepal.
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