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Tibetan refugees become victims of Nepal-China friendship
Much to the chagrin of Tibetans in Nepal, China is exerting its influence in the Himalayan country, mostly through financial measures. The situation has reached a point where Tibetans are finding it difficult to find asylum in the country - one due to presence of China-trained Nepali border guards, and two because of funding, especially the food aid that flows from China to Nepal.

“Tibetan refugees in Nepal are going through a difficult period. China is gaining more political influence, not only in Asia, but also in Africa. What we see in Nepal is one such example. Based on the economic power, they are gaining political points,” Tenzin Tsundue, well known Tibetan activist told this citizen journalist .

Since 1959, after the Dalai Lama fled to India through Nepal, the country has been like a second home to Tibetans who easily mix with the local population, due to religious and geographical proximity. But, the situation has changed in past couple of years after China started to exert its influence in Nepal. To make sure that Nepal where weak government has always struggled more because of its confrontation with Maoists, comes closer to the country, former Chinese premier paid a surprise visit to the Himalayan country last year, and promised huge aid.

The impact of the aid flowing from China was clear when Nepal police for the first time in decades detained Tibetans who were protesting against China.  Even the birthday celebrations of the Dalai Lama by Tibetan refugees were restrained.

Detailing how Nepali government policies towards Tibetans had changed, Tsundue said: “The Nepalese government took away the body of one Tibetan who self-immolated, and secretly cremated it despite requests from all over the world.”

When asked if they would launch any campaigns or protests against the changed priorities of Nepalese government, Tsundue replied in the negative. “We have been petitioning the Nepalese government and hope that Nepal will respect the traditional relations between Tibet and Nepal. We are not planning any kinds of protests. We consider the Nepalese to be brothers and sisters.”

Tsundue said that Nepal has become a “victim” in the whole situation. “It is the people of Nepal, who will take the final call, when their politicians are enamored by Chinese promise of money.”

The Nepalese government seems to be at the centre of Tibet-China issue. But the question remains: will this silence the Tibetans, who have been fighting against the Chinese occupation for decades now? “The Tibetans are independent and proud by nature. In whatever situation, the Tibetans will never be silenced. In fact, the Chinese are showing signs of insecurity due to the resistance of the Tibetans,” Tsundue said.

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