News / Asia

Nepal’s Tibetan Refugees Struggle Under China’s Shadow

Nepal’s Tibetan Refugees Struggle Under China’s Shadowi
X
May 24, 2013 7:08 PM
Tibetan refugees in Nepal say they face increasing restrictions from Nepalese authorities due to pressure from China. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Tibetans who, for decades, have made the Himalayan country their home.
Aru Pande
Tibetan refugees in Nepal say they face increasing restrictions from Nepalese authorities due to pressure from China. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Tibetans who, for decades, have made the Himalayan country their home.

Dolma Lama learned to weave Tibetan carpets from her mother - who fled Tibet and settled in Kathmandu after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese occupation in 1959.
 
Dolma was born in Nepal and has been weaving since she was 19.
 
“It’s very important [to preserve our culture] because we are in exile and not in our country.  Carpet weaving is part of our culture. We wear Tibetan dress all the time, which is also part of preserving our culture. We eat Tibetan food at home, practice the religion, have a Tibetan flag in our home," said Dolma Lama.

As Bollywood music plays in the background, the weavers at the Jawalakhel Handicraft Center sit for hours each day, tying knots to assemble carpets that are sold at a showroom.
 
The center supports Nepal’s largest Tibetan community, 1,000 people who live in the heart of the capital. The profits go to schools for refugee children and homes for the elderly.
 
Karma Dawa is the center's general manager.
 
“I think it’s very important for the community and the Tibetan people here as well as those in exile to keep our traditions alive so that it can be passed on to our younger generations," said Karma Dawa.
 
Preserving these traditions is becoming more difficult for Nepal’s 20,000 Tibetan refugees.
 
Activists say, in the last few years, authorities here have prohibited Tibetan residents from gathering in groups, whether to mark the birthday of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama or just to picnic.
 
On the day that VOA shot this story, a Nepalese police officer kept close watch.
 
Sudip Pathak, who heads the Human Rights Organization of Nepal, says life is already difficult for Tibetans in the country. In the late 1990s, Nepal stopped issuing refugee identity cards, leaving many Tibetans unable to get a higher education or jobs.
 
He says these restrictions depend on who is in power.
 
"If we have a liberal or democratic government, sometimes the refugees can act their activities, peacefully gather or pray or their economic activities. If the government is more left or a communist government, they cannot do anything," said Sudip Pathak.
 
Activists say China is using aid and investment in Nepal to make sure the country prevents anti-Chinese activity.
 
But Madan Regmi, chairman of the China Study Center in Kathmandu, says there's nothing wrong with Nepal adhering to its “one-China” policy.
 
“If we allow anti-Chinese activity, they will definitely say that you are not abiding to your own commitment, so they have every right to tell us, and we have every right to tell any outsiders not to do anything wrong against our neighbors," said Madan Regmi.

For now, these Tibetan weavers hold on to their heritage and take heart in knowing their work and their story will grace homes across the globe.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid