By Ariel Lin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
KATHMANDU, Nepal – A group of 200 Tibetan exiles and Buddhist monks tried to storm the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal on Sunday. Tibetan exiles and their children tried to gain entry to the Chinese embassy’s visa office near the city center. Shouting “stop the killing”, the protesters attempted to open the office’s metal gate before they were stopped by a police bamboo baton charge. A Tibetan activist said a girl and a monk were badly hurt and taken to hospital.
At least 200 police officers surrounded the building and hauled the demonstrators away in police vans as they sought to approach the mission. “A total of 227 Tibetan protesters, including 113 women, were detained and would be freed later,” Surnedra Rai, a police officer at the station where the protesters were held, said.
Nepal is home to around 20,000 Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. Exiled Tibetans in Nepal have been protesting regularly since a riot broke out in the Tibetan, China on March 14. Nepal’s government has said it cannot allow the protests because it recognizes China’s claim to sovereignty over Tibet. The BBC Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says the authorities in Nepal have been adopting a “zero tolerance” attitude to Tibetan demonstrations for fear of annoying the country’s powerful neighbor, China.
The UN has criticized the continued mass arrests of pro-Tibetan protesters in Nepal, saying it violates the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. International rights groups, like New York-based Human Rights Watch have repeatedly criticized Nepal’s handling of the Tibetan protests and beating of the protesters.
For more information, please see:
BBC News – Nepal police halt Tibet protest – 30 March 2008
Reuters – Tibetans scuffle with Nepal police, 113 detained – 30 March 2008
Reuters – Nepal police break up Tibet protests, 284 held – 30 March 2008