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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetans to resume protests in Nepal

August 29, 2008

By Prateek Pradhan
Financial Times
August 28, 2008

Kathmandu, August 28 - Tibetan activists plan to resume protest
rallies in front of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu tomorrow even
though Nepal's new Maoist-led government is expected to treat
demonstrators harshly.

Nepal's Tibetan residents, who number more than 15,000 and form the
world's largest population of Tibetan refugees after that of India,
protested regularly at the embassy during the run-up to the Beijing
Olympics in spite of harsh police beatings and mass arrests.

The refugees are worried that the new government, which took office
during the games, will be even less tolerant. Puspa Kamal Dahal, the
new prime minister known by his nom de guerre Prachanda, was warmly
welcomed to the closing ceremony in Beijing last weekend by Hu
Jintao, Chinese president, making him the first Nepali prime minister
to make China his first port of call rather than India.

Officials in the new government say they have no special affinity
with China and claim the Beijing visit was a coincidence of the
timing of the games, in spite of their adherence to the political
philosophy developed by Mao Zedong.

However, CP Gajurel, foreign department chief of the Communist Party
of Nepal (Maoist), told the Financial Times that "the party will ask
the government to stop" Tibetan demonstrations.

Upendra Yadav, the new foreign minister, said policy had not yet been
set. "We will definitely discuss about Tibetan refugees but as we
have not yet made any policy, I will not comment," he said.

"China has given special attention to Nepal due to the Tibetan
issue," said Tashi, a 26-year-old Tibetan student born in Nepal. "If
the new government constricts democratic space, we will be forced to
move to western countries where there is freedom to raise our voice
for free Tibet," said Tashi, adding that he had participated in 80
per cent of rallies held in the capital.

Thakpa Tenzing, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, is hopeful
that the new government will allow peaceful movements. He also
stressed that in spite of increasing pressure, his group would
continue the peaceful rallies in Kathmandu that began in March, when
riots broke out in Lhasa.

"Our protests have not stopped," he said. "We will resume on August 29 and 30."
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