Nepal deported six Tibetans who had crossed into the Himalayan country to seek asylum, handing them over to Chinese police shortly after they crossed the border last week, two witnesses told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“When those six Tibetan escapees arrived on Nepal soil [on foot], at a place called Legme, the Nepalese border police arrested them. From there, the Nepali police led the handcuffed Tibetan refugees to Simikto police station," said the source, a trader who requested anonymity to protect his personal security.
"The Nepali police handed over those arrested Tibetan refugees to the Chinese border police on the evening of that day, September 5th,” added the source.
"The handcuffed Tibetan refugees were wailing in great distress at their fate, and were pleading the police with folded hands not to take them back to the Chinese,” said the source.
Simikto is the administrative headquarter of Humla district of Karnali Pradesh in the northwestern corner of Nepal. Simikto airport is the main tourist gateway on the Nepalese side to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, revered pilgrimage sites in Tibet.
The six had crossed the Nepali border from Purang (In Chinese, Burang) county in Ngari (Ari) prefecture. The source said they had ruddy complexions and wore Tibetan clothing.
"On the way, many local Nepali bystanders witnessed the Nepali police leading them away in handcuffs," added the source.
“When the armed Nepalese police were escorting them, the residents were waved off from approaching them closer," said a second source, a Tibetan living in Kathmandu, the Nepal capital.
"Without even keeping them for one day at Simikot, the Nepali police returned them to the Chinese authorities,” said the Kathmandu source.
"The Nepali police warned residents not to share the news of this incident, and if any of them caught for doing it, will face severe consequences," added the Kathmandu resident.
“The Tibetans repeatedly appealed to the Nepalese police that they were going to Nepal to seek asylum. Meanwhile the local Nepalese also pleaded with the police to release and let them go. But the police did not heed their request and they also got annoyed by their interference,’ said the first source.
Nepal shares a long border with Tibet and is home to around 20,000 exiles who began arriving in 1959 when a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule forced Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama into exile in Dharamsala in India’s Himalayan foothills.
Nepal cites the "One-China Policy" Beijing demands from countries and its strong ties with its wealthier neighbor in cracking down on Tibetan community activities in the country, such as elections among the refugee community and birthday celebrations for the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Paul Eckert.