Nepal crackdowns Tibetans under China force: Report

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Kathmandu, Sep 12 (UNI) Growing Chinese pressure on Nepal to curb the ''anti-China movement'' and protracted agitation by ''Tibetan refugees'' here has finally made the government get tough with Tibetan protesters, media reports said here today.

''The immigration office handed over 106 protestors to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for verification of their refugee status as they had remained silent during police interrogation,'' Kantipur quoted Home Ministry spokesperson Modaraj Dotel as saying.

''They will not be allowed to stay in Nepal after the verification. If they continue to remain silent even during the verification by the UNHRC, we will conclude that they are illegal immigrants,'' Mr Dotel said.

''Tibetan refugees'' have been agitating in and around the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu since March. They intensified their protests ahead of the Beijing Olympics. Around 400 policemen have to be deployed daily to contain the protests.

The government action against protesting refugees follows a meeting between Home Ministry officials and Chinese envoy Zheng Xianglin this week, the paper said.

Mr Zheng reportedly complained to the ministry officials that the protests have affected work at the embassy besides posing a threat to the lives of Chinese officials.

The Home Ministry now plans to ''make the illegal immigrants'' leave Nepal after verification by the UNHCR. Besides, they were also mulling tougher action against the refugees if the current plan does not work, The Kathmandu Post quoted unnamed official as saying. They, however, declined to give details.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has received what officials said was reliable intelligence that some European and American NGOs are supporting the protests by the refugees.

''We are going to take action against them [NGOs] as well,'' the paper said quoting Home Ministry sources.

There are about 20,000 Tibetan refugees living in Nepal.

UNI XC SKB RK1400

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