Tibetans fear for man sent back to China from Nepal
AFP[Wednesday, February 27, 2008 12:27]

A Tibetan monk prays at the Soyambhu stupa in Kathmandu
A Tibetan monk prays at the Soyambhu stupa in Kathmandu
KATHMANDU, February 25: A rights group expressed concern Tuesday over the fate of a man from Tibet who was arrested at a refugee centre in Kathmandu at the weekend and handed over to Chinese authorities.

"There are serious concerns for the outcome of his case given the use of torture and the lack of due process in legal proceedings in China and Tibet," the International Campaign for Tibet said in a statement.

The arrest was "apparently linked to allegations by the Chinese authorities that he had been involved in stabbing a Chinese man in Tibet," the US-based rights group said.

Dozens of Nepali police officers surrounded and searched the Tibetan Reception Centre late Saturday until they found Tsering Dhundup, 27, officials from the centre said.

"This is the first time anybody has been arrested from here," an official from the United Nations-funded centre said, on condition of anonymity.

The police had no warrant and gave no explanation for the arrest, centre officials said.

A senior police officer in the capital confirmed that Nepali authorities had handed the man over to Chinese authorities.

"The immigration department of Nepal sent him to the Nepal-China border in Kodari and handed him over to Chinese officials Monday," said the officer, Narendra Upreti.

"I cannot give you more information," he said when asked why Dhundup was arrested.

Every year around 2,500 Tibetans make the dangerous high-altitude journey from Chinese-controlled Tibet to Nepal, ending up at the reception centre in Kathmandu.

Most are then given papers to allow them to travel to Dharamsala in northern India, the home of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Tibetan refugees began arriving in Nepal in 1959 after the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa following an abortive uprising against Beijing.

In recent years, the Dalai Lama has backed off from pushing for Tibetan independence, campaigning instead for the Himalayan region to have "genuine autonomy."

Nepal's government respects Beijing's "One China" policy, which sees Tibet as an integral part of China.