By Tenzin Dharpo
53 year old US Citizen Penpa Tsering who was denied entry into Nepal. Photo- Himalayan Times
DHARAMSHALA, June 28: The United States embassy in Kathmandu has asked for clarification from the Nepalese government over the refusal of entry to an American citizen who was deported from the Tribhuvan International Airport on Saturday after hours of questioning.
US Embassy spokesperson Andie De Arment told the Kathmandu Post
, “The US Embassy is troubled that the Nepal government deported a US citizen on the basis of a request from a foreign government. We are seeking clarification from the Nepal government about the facts of this specific instance and, more generally, about whether US citizens seeking to enter Nepal will be subject to clearance from other foreign governments.”
Tibetan American named 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.
Nepalese immigration officers who operate under Kathmandu government’s strict adherence to Beijing’s so called “One China policy” said that the person shared the same name with a man who is “most wanted” 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 earlier this week.
The incident has sparked speculations and even misreporting by agencies that the man deported was Penpa Tsering, the former Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
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.