September 3, 2009
Below is an article published by the Associated Free Press:
Nepalese riot police on Wednesday arrested 10 Tibetans as they tried to protest in front of a visiting high-level Chinese delegation, said an AFP reporter at the scene.
The banner-waving protesters stood in the middle of the street and shouted "Free Tibet" as the Chinese officials drove from their hotel just outside Kathmandu on Wednesday morning, the reporter said.
Around 40 baton-wielding riot police dragged the young men into waiting vans and took them away.
A police officer at the scene, Shukra Khatri Chhetri, told AFP that seven people had been arrested.
"We have arrested seven Tibetans who were protesting in front of the Chinese delegation. They will probably be released by the evening," Chhetri said.
Nepal is home to around 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed uprising.
The government in Kathmandu has come under increasing pressure from Beijing to suppress anti-China activity on its soil, and activists say it has responded by adopting a harder line against the exiles.
Wednesday's incident is likely to embarrass the Nepalese government, which is hosting a 17-member Chinese delegation led by Zhang Gaoli, a central committee member of China's Communist Party.
Sandwiched between India and China, Nepal has supported Beijing's "One China" policy that views Tibet as an integral part of China as it seeks to preserve friendly ties with its northern neighbour.
"We had asked local Tibetan leaders not to cause any trouble (during the visit) and especially to avoid road obstructions," said government spokesman Ratna Raj Pandey.
"We don't know why the Tibetans went against their word and tried to obstruct the road. The arrests were made to bring the situation under control.
"Nepal upholds the One China policy. We will not allow our soil to be used for any anti-China activities."
Some 2,500 Tibetans used to make the dangerous trip from Chinese-controlled Tibet to Nepal every year on their way to India to join their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
But activists say the number has fallen sharply since China mobilised its military in Tibet in March 2008.
Wednesday's protest came as around 400 exiles gathered at a nearby Buddhist monastery to mark the 49th anniversary of the creation of Tibet's government in exile in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala.
Monks and schoolchildren paraded around the monastery carrying portraits of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, and reciting Buddhist chants.
"In Tibet we cannot celebrate this day because of the Chinese government," said 35-year-old teacher Kanchok Tenzing, who fled Tibet 20 years ago.
"I am very happy to be part of the Tibetan democracy day celebrations."