China calls on Nepal for tough action against Tibetan groups

(dpa) - China has asked the Nepalese government to prevent pro-Tibetan groups from operating in Nepal, official media said Thursday.

Terming the growing protests by Tibetans in Nepal as "illegal political activities," China asked Nepal to take stringent measures to prevent anti-Chinese activities, the official Rising Nepal newspaper reported.

China has sought to quell Tibet-related demonstrations in the region, which have proven an embarrassment as it steps into the international spotlight as host of the Summer Olympic Games in August.

Human rights groups have criticized both China and Nepal for their handling of the Tibet protests. Rights groups charged them with violating protesters' basic rights, including the right to assembly and freedom of speech, and with using excessive force.

The Chinese reaction followed Tibetan protests Tuesday and Wednesday in Kathmandu during which demonstrators tried to march on to the Chinese embassy in the latest of nearly daily protests in the Nepalese capital since March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule.

"The ringleaders of Tibetan organizations here, some of whom are plotting behind and some are conducting protests, urged the Tibetans demonstrators to storm the embassy," Chinese Ambassador Zheng Xialing charged, according to the newspaper report.

Xialing claimed anti-Chinese forces were operating in Nepal camouflaged as Tibetan protestors and were attempting to sabotage relations between the two countries.

"We hope the Nepalese government adheres to a one-China policy and does not allow anti-China forces," Xialing said. "Our long-term friendly relations should not be undermined by these forces."

Xialing alleged that most of the protestors in Kathmandu were associated with the Tibetan government in exile and described them as "separatists," a charge China has long levelled against the exiles.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader and head of its government in exile, has insisted he does not seek independence from China, only greater autonomy for Tibet within China, although some Tibetans involved in the recent protests have called for independence.

Nepal's government has said there is no change in its policy of recognising Tibet as an integral part of China and would not allow anti-Chinese activities despite coming under growing criticism from the United Nations and human rights groups.

More than 1,500 Tibetan demonstrators have been detained since the beginning of anti-China protests in Kathmandu.

Rights groups have charged the Nepalese authorities with threatening the refugees involved in demonstrations with deportation back to Tibet, a charge denied by Nepalese authorities.

Nepal is home to more than 20,000 Tibetan refugees who arrived in the country in the late 1950s after the failed uprising in Lhasa.

According to human rights groups, nearly 3,000 Tibetans still cross over into Nepal from Tibet each year, risking their lives traversing the Himalayas.

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