Nepal less tolerant towards Tibetan refugees

Posted Jan 22, 2010 by R. C. Camphausen
Escaping China has never been easy for Tibetan, Uyghur or other refugees who must cross high glaciers to do so, but the fact that Nepal's present government includes pro-Chinese, Maoist elements makes it worse.
The Himalayas form a white wall of ice and snow separating the north (Tibet  China) from the south (...
The Himalayas form a white wall of ice and snow separating the north (Tibet, China) from the south (Nepal, India)
It is only a few days ago, on January 17th, that something once again occurred most of us never hear about: the arrest in Nepal of refugees from Tibet. While the small Himalayan country wedged between India to the south and China to the north had been - for years - rather friendly if not welcoming to refugees who arrived from among the snow-clad mountains in the north, this seems to have changed dramatically during recent years.
This latest incident has been reported in the Tibet Sun, yet one can find similar ones in papers originating in India, Nepal or Bhutan - all the countries that share borders somewhere up among the ice with China - and with what used to be Tibet.
This time, the refugees simply were arrested on relatively safe Nepali soil - as many were during the 2008 Olympic year protests against Chinese domination - other refugees are less lucky and don't even reach Nepal of India at all when they try to cross the fields of snow towards freedom. Mountain climbers from various nations have seen, reported and even filmed how Chinese border patrols shoot at everything that moves southwards, even if the refugees in question are teenagers or even younger children.
Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) monastery in Nepal
Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism) monastery in Nepal
At the moment, it is India that's the more safe heaven for Tibetan refugees, although Nepal has been so for much longer. After all, the Nepali people themselves share an eclectic religion that's part Buddhist, part Hindu, partly based in ancient shamanic.traditions.
It is for this reason, that Nepal is a country full of temples and sacred places of power that are venerated within Tibetan Buddhism, and also that Nepal harbors many a Vajrayana monastery where old and young monks teach and learn this Tibetan wisdom tradition.
Ancient religions building (stupa) in front of modern antenna
Ancient religions building (stupa) in front of modern antenna
For the last century, Nepal has always been a country able to adapt, to combine old and new, to remain in the middle ages while also welcoming the 20th century in the form of jets and tourists and Coca Cola, yet with the new direction government is taking It is questionable whether or not the small nation will be able to remain independent.
For the moment, things don't look too good, since the pro-Chinese faction in government doesn't really recognize the plight of Tibetan refugees due to a so-called "One China" policy. This entails, since there's only one China, that there's less consideration for someone from Tibet ... since Tibet doesn't really exist as an entity.