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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

'Unprecedented' Chinese intervention in handling of Tibetan protests in Nepal, Greece

March 13, 2008

March 11, 2008

There was unprecedented intervention by Chinese embassy officials in
Kathmandu yesterday with the handling of clashes between Nepalese
police and Tibetans carrying out demonstrations for an important
Tibetan anniversary, March 10 National Uprising Day.

In Greece, too, Chinese officials filmed Tibetan activists yesterday
and were caught on camera attempting to impede a peaceful protest by
Tibetans linked to the Olympics in Olympia, ancient site of the first

Images published today on ICT's website show Chinese Embassy officials
working behind police lines in Kathmandu, and attempting to prevent
their photograph being taken by an American observer, who reported to
ICT that they spat at him.

It has been well known in Nepal that due to strong Chinese influence
on the multi-party government, the Chinese embassy issues instructions
to the Nepalese Home Ministry to direct the police on various
important Tibetan anniversaries. But yesterday the Chinese embassy was
visible on the streets with the Nepalese police, and according to one
experienced observer, Chinese officials were "directing them,
positioning them, [and] telling them to remove people".

An estimated several thousand Tibetans gathered at the Buddhist stupa
in the Boudha neighborhood of Kathmandu yesterday (March 10), waving
the Tibetan national flag and shouting pro-Tibet slogans to
commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising in
Lhasa in 1959. Police used batons to forcibly halt attempts by
protestors to move the demonstration to the Chinese embassy,
reportedly injuring more than 20 protestors and detaining at least 100

An eyewitness in Kathmandu told ICT that there was a confrontation
between the peaceful demonstrators and police at the bridge below
Batpatini (pictured). The observer said: "In five police vans and two
trucks, they were able to apprehend about 50 Tibetans, while another
20 or so ran in various directions. During the attempt to apprehend
all of them, many Tibetan demonstrators were beaten with sticks and
billy clubs, kicked, and punched. This was in the street and visible
to the many residents around the bridge. The altercation took less
than 15 minutes before they cleared the area."

At least 100 Tibetans were detained temporarily yesterday following
the protests, and most of them were held in the courtyard at Gosala
police post near Pashupati. Around a dozen Tibetans were detained in
Boudha police station, and most of them were hit with lathis and
punched. Family members of the detained and supporters gathered around
the police station, where they were being held, urging officials to
release those who were arrested. Most of the detained are believed to
have been released without charge at 5:45 pm local time yesterday.

An experienced observer in Kathmandu told ICT: "The number of
[Nepalese] police in full riot gear, fanned out across the city,
counting at least ten intersections with over 25 policemen, and 450
policemen posted in front of the Chinese embassy alone (along with
three police dogs), was a show of planning and coordination that has
not been seen before."

Five Chinese and one Tibetan staff at the embassy, in plain clothes
were positioned in front the Chinese embassy. When an American man
photographing the demonstrations was was taking pictures of the two
embassy Chinese officials telling the policeman where to stand to
block the intersection, the two Chinese men tried to stop him, and
upon walking up to the observer, one spat on him and the camera. While
the American left, Chinese officials yelled in English to the Nepalese
police man to apprehend the American and take the camera away, which
the Nepalese police did not act upon.

In another example of China's interference in the due process of other
countries, Chinese embassy officials were caught on film yesterday by
the BBC at Olympia, Greece, objecting to a peaceful protest by Tibetan
activists at the ancient site that is the birthplace of the Olympic
Games. The Chinese embassy officials filmed Tibet protestors who
symbolically lit a torch as part of a Tibetan Freedom Torch Relay in
the buildup to the summer Olympics in Beijing. Tendon Dahortsang, of
the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, said: "Greek authorities told
us we were not allowed to go in because of our big bags, as Chinese
embassy officials stood nearby and watched us." (The Guardian, UK,
March 11, 2008). When a BBC reporter challenged the Chinese officials
for their involvement in impeding a peaceful protest in a free
country, the Chinese officials became angry and shouted at the camera
that Tibet is part of China, before telling the reporter that he was
'stupid' and walking away.

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of the International Campaign for
Tibet, said today: "In both these instances China has attempted to
orchestrate the bullying of peaceful protestors in democratic
countries where -- unlike in China -- free speech and assembly are
protected in law. This manifestation of China's influence is certainly
not the peaceful rise on the international stage of which China so
often boasts in its Olympics year."
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