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Chinese delegation woos Nepal against Tibetan demonstrations

July 2, 2009

Phayul Wednesday, July 01, 2009
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

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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