Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potentially Good News for Tibetan Refugees

Things have been getting harder and harder for Tibetans seeking to escape Chinese-ruled Tibet for the last few years. China heavily beefed up border security following the 2008 Tibetan Uprising, claiming that the protesters were actually saboteurs covertly sent by the Dalai Lama from India to destroy China (apparently he was able to sneak in enough people to populate entire towns and villages, which would be pretty cool if it were true).

Additionally, political changes in Nepal have conspired against Tibetan refugees. Since taking power a few years ago, the Nepalese Maoist Party has sought closer ties with China, which has been happy to throw some money their way in return for Nepalese cooperation with curbing Tibetan movement through the border area. The Maoists were successful in turning Nepal, formerly the conduit used by the vast majority of Tibetans headed to India and the outside world, into a much more dangerous place for Tibetans in transit. In the last few months there have been a few incidents in which Chinese border units were allowed to enter Nepalese territory to retrieve fleeing Tibetans- for more on the situation leading up to today, check this out.

Now, finally, what might be the start of something good:
Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda met his Waterloo on Tuesday, losing the prime ministerial election, and dragging his mentor, China, into dispute.

How is China involved?
China has been dragged into the controversy with the surfacing of an audio tape which, apparently, catches Maoist former minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara seeking to meet a Chinese "friend" in Hong Kong ready to pay NRS 500 million, that would have bought the extra votes [the Maoists] need to win the election.

Quotes taken from the tape sound pretty damning- presumably the full transcript will show up online pretty soon. If this leads to the Maoist Party losing some power and generally increased vigilance regarding Chinese influence in the country, Tibetans stand to benefit substantially.

1 comment: