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China begins moves to pre-empt new Tibetan stir

February 16, 2009

Sunday, 15 February , 2009, 14:24

Kathmandu: Remembering the anti-China protests by Tibetans that erupted
in Nepal in the summer of 2008, Beijing has begun diplomatic and
political moves to pre-empt the resurrection of the street protests this

A six-member delegation of the Communist Party of China headed by its
international department vice-minister Liu Hongcai arrived here on
Saturday on a four-day visit to consolidate ties with the major
political parties in Nepal.

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The visitors met Nepal's Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Prachanda Sunday to raise the issue of anti-China protests in Nepal by

Prachanda's press advisor Om Sharma said the premier has reaffirmed
Nepal's pledge that it would not allow its soil to be used for
activities against its friendly neighbours.

When the delegation expressed concern at the anti-China protests last
year in the name of Tibetan refugees, the Maoist Prime Minister assured
them that security agencies have been instructed to take pre-emptive

Prachanda also told the Chinese delegation that his government upheld
the One China policy that regards Tibet as an integral and inalienable
part of the Chinese republic.

No further talks with China: Tibetans in exile

Last year, in an unprecedented happening, hundreds of Tibetans,
including monks and nuns, began anti-China protests in Kathmandu in
March, ostensibly to register their anger at the Olympic Committee
approving of China's bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

However, the protests, which included sit-ins and demonstrations in
front of the Chinese Embassy and the UN office in Kathmandu valley,
continued even after the Olympic Games had concluded.

They stopped only after a Maoist-led government came to power in August
and ordered protesters found without valid residence permits to be sent
back to the countries they had come from.

A furious Beijing, for which the demonstrations were an embarrassment
raising fresh queries about its human rights record, said the protests
were fomented by foreign powers who were using the open border between
India and Nepal to sneak illegally into the Himalayan republic.

The Chinese delegation is also scheduled to attend a key meeting of the
second biggest Nepali ruling party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified
Marxist Leninist (UML).

The eighth general convention of the UML kicks off in Butwal town on Monday.

Last month, in a sign of its mounting interest in Nepal, Beijing sent
representatives for the first time to attend the convention of the Terai
party Madhesi Janadhikar Forum in Birgunj city in southern Nepal.

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In the past, the Terai parties had been considered close to India and
Indian parties. While China wooed the major parties, it had not sought
to expand its area of influence along the Indian border.

However, now with the Terai parties emerging as a regional force, China
is also seeking to establish close contact with them.
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