China presses Nepal to crackdown on Tibetans: group

KATHMANDU Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:35am EDT

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gives a lecture at the University of Warsaw July 28, 2009. REUTERS/Peter Andrews

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gives a lecture at the University of Warsaw July 28, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Peter Andrews

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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal, under increasing pressure from China, was cracking down on Tibetan refugees despite centuries of shared culture with Tibet, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said on Tuesday.

Nepali authorities have regularly broken up protests by Tibetan exiles and arrested them for protesting against China's crackdown on demonstrations in Tibet.

The Washington-based group said Tibetan refugees were "increasingly demoralized" as Nepal "relinquishes its historic and sovereign interests in response to incentivized political pressure from Beijing and its sympathizers."

ICT said "pre-emptive arrests of Tibetans, ID checks and house searches" by authorities were contributing to a "widespread sense of fear and insecurity" among the exiles.

"Nepal's political leadership is betting that the internal benefits of assuaging China in the cause of oppressing Tibetans will be greater... than the traditional legal and historical concepts," Mary Beth Markey, Vice President at ICT said.

Nepali officials did not comment immediately but the impoverished nation considers Tibet as part of China, a key trading partner and aid donor.

Kathmandu says Tibetan refugees are free to live in Nepal but cannot carry out any anti-China activities.

Nepal is home to more than 20,000 Tibetans who fled the Himalayan region after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

About 2,500 flee Tibet every year and come to Nepal on way to India where their temporal leader, the Dalai Lama, lives.

(Editing by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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