By Tenzin Dharpo
screenshot of webpage of Department of Immigration, Nepal shows American national Penpa Tsering on blacklist. photo- The Himalayan Times.
DHARAMSHALA, June 25: An American man of Tibetan origin was reportedly deported to the United States by Nepalese immigration authorities at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Saturday after hours of “harsh questioning” as he bore the same name with a man wanted by China for being “an agent” of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The 53-year-old Penpa Tsering arrived from New York city via New Delhi on Saturday and was deported back to the US via Doha on the same day. The Himalayan Times
cited a source saying that Tsering who held a US passport was “scorned and mistreated because of his Tibetan origin”.
Nepalese immigration officers who operate under Kathmandu government’s strict adherence to Beijing’s so called “One China policy” said that Penpa Tsering shared the same name with a man who is “most wanted person” in Beijing’s infamous blacklisted category. The officials deported the man despite reservations that he was indeed the same man wanted by Beijing.The Himalayan Times
cited an unnamed Nepalese official saying that he acted at the request of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu and that the embassy had written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to restrict a person named ‘Penpa Tsering’ from entering Nepal. Chinese authorities have deemed him a campaigner of the free Tibet movement, as well as a strong advocate of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“After consulting higher authorities, including Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, we simply chose to be on the safe side by deporting him to the US,” another official told the Kathmandu based news agency.
The incident has sparked speculations and even misreporting by agencies which mistook the man named Penpa Tsering to be the former Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and the man who ran for the highest office in the Tibetan polity by the same name.
The former Speaker told Phayul that it was indeed a case of mistaken identity. “I am in India and have not travelled to Nepal. The last time I went to Nepal was in 2007. The man deported by Nepalese and blacklisted by China is another man who shares my name,” Tsering told Phayul.
The incident, many say, is yet another incident of Kathmandu going to extreme lengths to garner the good graces of Beijing. The Nepalese government has received flak from the international community for its treatment of Tibetan refugees, few of whom were sent back into occupied Tibet. Kathmandu’s undermining of Tibetan refugee community’s human rights in its region has meant economic gains for the tiny Himalayan country from its neighbour in the north.