Nepal whitewashes China crackdown in Tibet

March 17th, 2008 - 12:26 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 17 (IANS) As tales and images of a violent Chinese crackdown in annexed Tibet began pouring out, Beijing’s southern neighbour and staunch ally Nepal began expressing public support for the communist republic and airing the Chinese government’s point of view to scale down the protests in which dozens were feared killed. Nepal’s official media Monday carried a front-page report, projecting the Chinese version of the demonstrations in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, and its neighbouring provinces, triggered after Chinese security forces tried to stop Tibetans from marking the anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese invasion and annexation of the formerly Buddhist kingdom of Tibet.

“Tibet government condemns criminal activities,” the state-controlled Rising Nepal daily said.

It carried a statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Nepal that accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled but still revered leader of Tibetans, of inciting the “sabotage”.

“There are enough evidences to prove that the sabotage was organised, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai clique,” the statement said.

“Such action has aroused locals’ dissatisfaction and been condemned by people in Tibet.”

Trying to dismiss the protests that have continued for several days, the statement said it was an attempt by “a smallest group (sic) of people to destroy Tibet’s stability and harmony, has no foundation and is doomed to fail”.

Calling the protesters, who are asking for the restoration of freedom and democracy in Tibet, “a small criminal group”, Nepal’s official media, quoting the Chinese embassy, defended the crackdown by security forces as “legal measures” taken to handle the “riot” effectively.

In the past, Beijing had said the same thing when the world condemned its border patrol forces’ firing on unarmed Tibetan nuns and child novices along the Nepal-China border, resulting in the death of a teenage nun.

One of the major ruling parties of Nepal also came out strongly in support of China, saying it had serious concerns about the protests started by Tibetans.

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, that two years ago itself had taken part in an anti-government rally in Nepal, paralysing the nation for over a fortnight, issued a statement, saying it was also deeply shocked by the anti-China protests in Nepal.

“Our party has always remained in favour of the one-China policy,” the Nepali communist party said. “It stresses that no anti-China activity should be held in Nepal.”

Aiding China’s efforts to ensure that no pro-Tibet banners are unfurled on Mt Everest ahead of the Olympic Games that start in August, Nepal last week announced the unprecedented measure of stopping all expeditions to the world’s highest peak before the Olympic torch was carried to the 8,848-metre summit, as planned by China.

On Sunday, Nepal’s tourism board organised an interaction with tourism and mountaineering associations, who toed the government line and said they would abide by the order out of deference to China.

In a bid to placate its giant neighbour, the government here has in the past shut down the office of the Dalai Lama’s representative in this country and ignored the best-known Buddhist leader during a Buddhist world summit held in Nepal.

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