Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Tibetan refugees in Nepal?

Lobsang Gyaltsen with the President of Nepal
What was Lobsang Gyaltsen, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region's (TAR) government doing in Kathmadu?
According to the E-Kantipur, "Tibet region chief stressed better ties in security".
One funny thing, the Nepali media calls him 'Luo Sang Jiang Cun', it is the Chinese way to spell Lobsang Gyalsten's name! Others write Luo Can!
Gyaltsen (Mr. Luo, for the E-Kantipur) apparently urged Kathmandu "to put in place measures to curb 'anti-China activities' in Nepal."
Leading a six-member 'Tibetan' delegation to Kathmandu, Gyaltsen met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bam Dev Gautam and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey.
What did they talk about?
"Bilateral issues including Tibetan assistance to bordering Nepali districts figured", says the Nepali paper which note that 'Luo' did not utter the word ‘refugee’ while speaking about his countrymen who have taken refuge in Nepal, but he repeatedly spoke of 'anti-Chinese elements'.
Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, the spokesperson of the Home Ministry said that "he urged us to curb anti-China activities and take stern action against those involved in such activities.”
He sought a better coordination between security agencies on both sides of the international border to curb such 'Tibetan' activities.
Home Minister Bam Dev was quoted as saying: “The Chinese side seems worried about increasing criminal activities along the Nepal-China border".
Why is Lobsang Gyalsten so obsessed with his countrymen activities in Nepal?
It is probably due to the forthcoming opening of Kyirong landport between Nepal and Tibet.
A few weeks ago, the official China Tibet Online reported: "The Gyirong [Kyirong] Port in southwest China’s Tibet bordered with Nepal will be formally opened in October this year. The opening of the Gyirong Port has been listed in the key work plan of national ports in 2014."
The website had also announced that a cross-border China-Nepal Gyirong Port Economic Cooperation Zone to be soon established; further the Gyirong Port will become a tourist destination for Han Chinese (not Tibetans).
One of the consequences of the opening of a new port between Tibet and Nepal could be the escape to Nepal of Tibetans resenting the Chinese rule.Gyaltsen told the Nepali ministers: "China doesn’t have any refugee as such”, but those crossing the border into Nepal are doing it illegally.
The ministers politely assured the Tibetan leader that the Nepali soil would never be used against its neighbours, i.e. China.
Gyalsten, with his one-point agenda, also called on President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Dipak Chandra Amatya.
Gyaltsen also discussed "possible Tibetan assistance to 15 northern districts of Nepal."  A Foreign Ministry official said there are indications that from next year, the Tibetan government will expand the cooperation in this field.
The present cooperation is mainly centered around security and the training of the Nepali border guards to catch the Tibetans who would try to escape Tibet.
It remains that the opening of Kyierong landport on a large scale makes Lhasa (and Beijing) nervous.
It was the only purpose of Mr Luo's visit to Kathmandu to tell the Nepalis to watch out and not accept more 'refugees'.
In April 2013, I mentioned some earlier important Nepal-Tibet meetings:
Already in July 2010, a meeting termed ‘Nepal-China Border Security and Law Enforcement Talks’ was held in Kathmandu. Both sides had agreed to set up ‘focal points’ in the respective Home Ministries in Kathmandu and Beijing. A senior Nepali Government official told The Kathmandu Post: “The Chinese side assured full support to enhance capacity building, training of Nepali security personnel to be deployed across the northern border, seeking Nepal’s full commitment on information sharing on anti-China activities with effective law enforcement mechanism to contain the activities.
In August 2011, an unnoticed development took place. Zhang Qingli, the then hardliner Party boss in Tibet, accompanied the Politburo Standing Committee member, the now disgraced Zhou Yongkang to Nepal. Zhou was then the supreme security czar of the Middle Kingdom.
A few months later, Chen Zhimin, the Chinese Vice-Minister of Public Security led a delegation to Nepal. According to the official communique issued after the visit: “The two sides exchanged views on cooperation of police affairs and law enforcement and reached consensus on some issues.”
The Nepali Press reported: “The Chinese offered ‘logistic support’ worth $300,000 dollars in the form of laptops, searchlights or metal detectors.”
Chen Zhimin was obviously very pleased with outcome of his stay in Nepal: “My visit is to find out ways to strengthen the bilateral relations between Nepal and China.”
Lhasa is indeed nervous that more 'refugees' could cross the border to Nepal and then proceed to Dharamsala.
By the way, do you know how Google Language translates 'Lobsang', alias 'Luo Can', you will not believe it, 'Lausanne'. The sound is not too different.
I had a Tibetan friend called 'Lobsang', I used to call “Love Song”, that is even better.

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