WikiLeaks exposes China's tenuous hold on Tibet news
17 December 2010

China's pompous claims of suzerainty over Tibet have been exposed by a WikiLeaks cable that has the US ambassador to New Delhi reporting on the arrival of refugees from that occupied territory.

The brief report reveals that the flow of refugees did slow down in the period 2008-09, post the communist regime's 2008 crackdown after intense protests flared up across the length and breadth of Tibet, but has picked up once again in 2010.

US Embassy Cable:

Kathmandu-Lhasa highway

''Update on Tibetan Refugee Flow

10. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff on February 4 that an average of 2,500 to 3,500 refugees from Tibet typically arrive in Dharamsala each year, with most returning to Tibet after receiving an audience with the Dalai Lama. XXXXXXXXXXXX confirmed that from 1980 to November 2009 87,096 refugees were processed by the Dharamsala Reception Center (RC) and that 46,620 returned to Tibet after a short pilgrimage in India. Most of those who do stay in India are children who then attend schools run by Tibetan Children's Villages. XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX both highlighted to PolOff that, following the March 2008 uprising in Tibet, the number of Tibetan refugees markedly decreased, with only about 650 refugees arriving at the RC from April 2008 to March 2009. XXXXXXXXXXXX speculated that Beijing has asked Kathmandu to step up patrols of Nepali border forces and make it more difficult for Tibetans to enter Nepal. XXXXXXXXXXXX reiterated this belief to PolOff  during a XXXXXXXXXXXX meeting in Delhi, stating "the Chinese government rewards (Nepali forces)" by providing financial incentives to officers who hand over Tibetans attempting to exit China. XXXXXXXXXXXX was optimistic that flow of refugees will soon go back to normal levels because admission statistics for 2010 are surpassing those from an equivalent period in 2009.


Nepal-Tibet border

Nepal and China have a common border of 1,414 kilometres and there are 34 major passes between Nepal and the Tibetan autonomous region.

There are four functioning border points at Hilsa (Humla), Rasuwagadhi, Kodari (Tatopani) and Olangchungola.

The Kathmandu-Kodari-Lhasa motorable road is an important link.

There are attempts to open more passes for trade and transit between the two countries in the various northern districts.

There were 20,100 Tibetan refugees in Nepal in 2002, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Global Report 2002. Till 2001, Nepalese authorities allowed approximately 20,000 Tibetans, who had arrived in Nepal before 1 January 1990 to stay in Nepal. The UNHCR report says these refugees are largely self- sufficient and do not require assistance from UNHCR.

The refugees are mostly engaged in carpet-weaving, handicraft, mobile trade and other business for their livelihood.

Since 2001, new arrivals are brought to the Tibetan Reception Centre in Kathmandu before transfer to a third country.

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WikiLeaks exposes China's tenuous hold on Tibet