Tibetans living in Taiwan yesterday confirmed WikiLeaks’ revelation that the number of Tibetans that escape from Tibet into India has fallen sharply in recent years because China is paying Nepal to arrest Tibetan refugees.
According to cables sent by an unnamed officer at the US embassy in New Delhi and made public on the WikiLeaks Web site on Sunday, the Chinese government “rewards [Nepali forces] by providing financial incentives to officers who hand over Tibetans attempting to exit China.”
“Beijing has asked Kathmandu to step up patrols ... and make it more difficult for Tibetans to enter Nepal,” the released cables say.
Regional Tibetan Youth -Congress-Taiwan president Tashi Tsering said that he was not surprised at all by the news in the leaked cables.
“This is actually not news, we’ve all heard stories of Tibetans being arrested by Nepali police and sent into Chinese hands,” Tashi told the Taipei Times via telephone. “The Chinese pay the Nepalese police to do so, they also put political pressure on the Nepali government.”
Tashi said that China is gaining more influence in Nepal because it provides a large amount of financial assistance to the Himalayan state.
Dawa Tsering, chairman of the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama — the de facto embassy of the exiled government in Taiwan — said that while arrests of Tibetan refugees by Nepali authorities have always happened, the number of such cases has increased dramatically since the Maoist government took office in 2008.
“Before, there were between 3,000 and 4,000 Tibetan refugees crossing the Himalayas into India through Nepal each year,” Dawa said. “However, since the Maoist party took office, the number has reduced to about 500 to 600 each year.”
He said that China is behind the dramatic decrease in the number of refugees.
“China has gained so much influence in Nepal that now Nepal is like a province of China,” Dawa said. “Many Tibetan refugees said that they saw officials from the Chinese embassy behind Nepalese police officers when they arrested Tibetan refugees.”
Dawa said that although the refugee reception centers set up by the Tibetan government in exile in Nepal are under UN jurisdiction, “the Nepalese police have nevertheless raided the reception centers several times to arrest specific Tibetan refugees wanted by the Chinese government and turn them into Chinese hands.”