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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."

Rights group criticise Nepal for blocking Tibetan protests

July 25, 2008

The Hindu
July 24, 2008

KATHMANDU (AP) -- A New York-based human rights group has alleged
that Nepal arbitrarily arrested hundreds of Tibetans protesting
against China and restricted their right to demonstrate, according to
a report Thursday.

Human Rights Watch called on Nepal's government to respect the right
of Tibetans to peacefully protest and to end the arrest, harassment
and mistreatment of those who do so.

"The government of Nepal, under pressure from China, has arbitrarily
arrested hundreds of Tibetans and restricted their right to
demonstrate against the March 2008 crackdown in Tibet,'' the report
said, referring to China's violent reaction to protests against its
rule in Tibet.

In a statement, Human Rights Watch's Asia director Brad Adams accused
Nepal's government of "turning the screws on peaceful Tibetan
protesters at the behest of China.''

Nepal's Home Secretary Umesh Mainali denied the allegation.

"We are not under the pressure from China and the allegation that
China is instructing us is totally false," Mainali said. ``It is our
policy not to allow any activities against any other nations to take
place in our soil.''

Tibetan exiles have been protesting in Nepal's capital almost daily
since March. Nepalese police have blocked protests outside the
Chinese embassy, their visa office and United Nations office.

Initially police used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd, but
stopped after being criticized by both national and international
rights groups.

"It is our duty and responsibility to protect the embassies from
attacks by protesters," Mainali said.

"We are not targeting Tibetans or stopping them from peaceful
protests. The police remove them from the embassy area, keep them for
few hours in police stations and free them. They are not charged or
jailed,'' he said.

Police have allowed some demonstrations far from embassy area.
Recently there have been protesters outside the visa office in
Katmandu who have tried to storm the office. They have also thrown
debris and kicked the gates.

Scuffles between protesters and police have resulted in minor injuries.

There are thousands of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal. Thousands
more are allowed to pass through Nepal on their way to Dharmasala,
India where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao rejected
the report's assertion that China was pressuring the Nepalese government.

"We don't accept such accusations and we criticize such remarks," he said.

Liu called Nepal a ``good neighbor and good friend." He said such
countries have pledged to prevent actions in their territory that
would harm China's interests, such as moves to create an independent
Tibet or attacks on Chinese diplomatic missions abroad.

"We support and appreciate some countries' necessary measures to
prevent such things from happening," Liu said.
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