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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

ICT calls for urgent international action against new Nepal government arrests of Tibetans

June 22, 2008

ICT report
June 19, 2008

Three leaders from the Tibetan community in Kathmandu were taken into
police custody today and told they will have to spend 90 days in
prison under a public security offence linked to local protests
against the Chinese government crackdown in Tibet. The three leaders,
Kelsang Chung, Director of the United Nations-funded Tibetan Refugee
Reception Center, and Ngawang Sangmo and Tashi Dolma, president and
vice president of the regional Tibetan Women's Association, are being
held in two different prisons in Kathmandu. The Chinese government
crackdown in Tibet has been building in response to a wave of
demonstrations across the Tibet plateau that began on March 10 and
has become the most significant uprising against Chinese rule in more
than 50 years.

The arrests of the Tibetan community leaders in Kathmandu follow
international concerns over the often brutal treatment by Nepalese
police of Tibetan protestors in Kathmandu during the past three
months, which in some cases appears to have been directed by Chinese
Embassy officials present behind police lines at the demonstrations.

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of Advocacy at the International
Campaign for Tibet, said today: "These arrests are deeply disturbing
at a time of transition to a new government in Nepal, when Tibetans,
already vulnerable in Nepal, are very nervous about Chinese
government influence and presence in Kathmandu. ICT calls on Nepal's
new democratic leaders and the international community to be vigilant
of China's intentions in Nepal and the impact of its influence on
long-staying Tibetan refugees in Nepal. We call for the immediate
release of these three prominent Tibetans."

The three Tibetans were required to sign a detention order letter
issued by the Chief District Officer in Kathmandu, who is under the
authority of Nepal's Home Ministry. The letter stated that the
demonstrations in Kathmandu have affected "the law and order
situation" of Nepal and, if they do not stop, may "harm the bilateral
and friendly relationship with China". Officials of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights and some foreign embassies in Kathmandu
are following the cases closely, but there has been no public
response by the new Nepal government.

The three Tibetans were among 12 community figures, named on an
official list, suspected of involvement in the Kathmandu protests. It
is not known if the detentions are linked to the imminent arrival of
the Olympic flame in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, on Saturday June 21, but
they are certainly linked to the increasing irritation of Chinese
government authorities over the unremitting public and emotional
expression of Tibetan solidarity in Nepal in recent weeks. The
Chinese ambassador in Kathmandu, Zheng Xianglin, has recently made
strong statements against the Dalai Lama in the Nepalese press. In
one pro-Chinese weekly publication, the People's Review, Zheng
accused the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile of
directly instigating the protests in Nepal (June 19-25).

Since the wave of protests broke out in Tibet on March 10, thousands
of Tibetans in Nepal have jeopardized their safety and security in
Nepal to express their opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet. The Nepal
border with Tibet, closed in preparation of the Olympic torch ascent
on Mount Everest on May 8, remains sealed off and the presence of
Chinese border troops stepped up.

China's acute sensitivity over Tibet continues to be a primary
feature of China-Nepal relations, and Beijing has been quick to
extract statements from new Nepalese government leaders, including
the Maoist Prachanda, that Nepal will not to tolerate 'anti-China'
activities on its soil.

This report can be found online at
http://savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1327

Press contact:

Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
email: press@savetibet.org

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