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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid