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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China jails Tibetan fugitives deported by Nepal

July 29, 2010

Mangalorean (India)
July 28, 2010

Kathmandu, July 28 (IANS) -- Seven years after
triggering international condemnation by
violating a "gentlemen's agreement" and handing
over a group of fleeing Tibetan refugees to
China, Nepal has again deported three more
fugitives under growing Chinese pressure, a rights organisation said.

Two Tibetan monks from Korchak monastery in
Tibet, located close to the border with Nepal,
and a woman, who was probably a government
official, were sent back in an extraordinary way,
involving flying them back in a helicopter under
the escort of a Nepali politician, the
London-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said Wednesday.

The two monks were identified as Dawa, 20, and
Dorjee, 21, while the woman was a 22-year-old identified as Penpa.

Penpa and one of the monks have been jailed and
will serve around six months, ICT said. The other
monk however has been allowed to return to the monastery.

The three were detained by Nepal police last
month in northern Humla district bordering Tibet.

The rights organisation said local sources had
told it that the Chinese authorities were looking
for the woman, hoping to stop her from reaching
Kathmandu and travelling onward to India.

Chinese border police were in touch with their
Nepali counterparts and after the three were
caught, they were taken by helicopter to the
border, accompanied by an unidentified Nepali politician and a policeman.

The whole operation was conducted in the utmost
secrecy. The first whiff emerged last week after
a Nepali television channel mentioned the
expulsion briefly without any details.

While cracking down on Tibetan refugees at
China's goading, Nepal, however, has remained
furtive about the steps it has been taking for
fear of fresh international outcry and possible trade bans.

In 2003, when Chinese officials seized 18 Tibetan
refugees from a Kathmandu jail, there were severe
repercussions with the US announcing a trade ban.

The ICT feared there could have been other
unobserved deportations in the remote border areas.

A near case of deportation occurred last month
when a group of Tibetans, including two sick
children, were apprehended in the Nepal border
region by Nepal police, then abandoned on the
difficult route back towards Tibet.

The group hid for two days from Chinese police
searching for them in the mountains of Nepal
until they were rescued and brought safely to the
Tibetan refugee transit centre in Kathmandu.

According to the US State Department 2009 Country
Report on Human Rights Practices, Tibetans
repatriated from Nepal reportedly suffered
torture, including electric shocks, exposure to
cold and severe beatings. They were also forced
to perform heavy physical labour.

The ICT is asking for an investigation into the deportations.

ICT president Mary Beth Markey said Nepal is
duty-bound under its agreement with the UN
refugee agency to ensure the safe transit of
Tibetan refugees through its territory.

"We urge the Nepal government and the UN refugee
agency to work together to investigate this
incident, including China's extra-territorial
role, and to adopt remedies that prevent future
occur-rences of refoulement from Nepal," Markey said in a press statement.

The revelation of the deportations comes as China
held talks with Nepal in Kathmandu in a bid to
further tighten border monitoring.

China's Vice-Minister for Public Security Chen
Zhiming led a Chinese team to Kathmandu to
participate in Tuesday's talks on bilateral
cooperation for implementing laws related to border security.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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