Nepal Bans Elections for Tibetan Exile Government

More than 10,000 Tibetans in Nepal did not get permission to vote for the prime minister and members of parliament for the government-in-exile, under increasing pressure from the Chinese government.

SP Pushkar Karki, Kathmandu police chief, said the force is always ready to prevent the Tibetans from using the country’s soil against its neighbours. According to him, police had warned Tibetans to stay away from voting. SP Bikram Singh Thapa, Lalitpur police chief, said the Tibetans could not cast their votes amid tight security.

Last year during the primary elections, Nepal police under the direction of Home Ministry of Nepal confiscated ballot boxes filled with thousands of ballots from several polling stations in Kathmandu. Police seized ballot boxes in Kathmandu, preventing Tibetan exiles from electing a local leadership last month.

Nepal is home to about 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against the Chinese delegates.

Nepal's major parties adhere to the 'One China' policy, regarding Tibet as an integral part of China and keeping Tibetan refugees in Nepal on a tight leash.

Approximately 2,500 Tibetan refugees escape into exile annually, travelling through Nepal en route to Dharamsala in northern India where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are based.

However the number of the Tibetan refugees escaping from Nepal has decreased in the recent years following China’s growing influence in Nepal. Since 2008, Nepal has hardened its stance on the Tibetan refugees, a trend observed in the Himalayan country’s increasing ties with China.