By Lobsang Wangyal
ON THE WEB, 25 June 2019
Nepal immigration has confused a Tibetan man travelling to the country named Penpa Tsering, for Penpa Tsering, the former Representative of the Dalai Lama to the United States, and deported him out of the country.
The Himalayan Times, in a report titled “Man labelled Dalai Lama’s agent, deported to US”, said that the Nepal immigration officials at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) deported the man because his name was on China’s “most-wanted” [sic] list.
Immigration authorities at Nepal’s sole international airport have refused to let the Tibetan carrying US passport to enter Nepal on suspicion of being an agent of exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama.
Reacting to the report, the former Dalai Lama’s representative Penpa Tsering said from Dharamshala, India, “It clearly shows that the Chinese government’s pressure on Nepal is working.”
He has been in Dharamshala since a few weeks ago for the on-going defamation case he has filed against the Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay and his Cabinet.
The Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission has announced 27 June the next hearing for closing arguments. Penpa Tsering filed the case in the Tibetan apex court in May 2018.
Tsering said he was aware of a Tibetan with the same name who had faced a similar problem in the past at TIA in 2013, but was not deported.
“I have been to Nepal to give political workshops in 2007 when I was a member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile. Then the authorities didn’t stop me. It’s probably after I became the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile that the Chinese blacklisted me.”
He was Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile from 2008 to 2010 for the 14th Parliament, and again from 2011 to 2016 for the 15th Parliament.
He also said that he travels on the travel document issued by the Government of India called the Identity Certificate.
The same-named Penpa Tsering, who holds a US passport, arrived to TIA from New York city via New Delhi on Saturday. He was denied entry into Nepal and was deported to the US after hours of questioning at the airport, reports the Himalayan Times.
The Tibetan was reportedly mistreated and questioned for hours because of his Tibetan origin, eyewitnesses told the newspaper.
Nepal immigration officials found that a man by the name Penpa Tsering was on a list of people black-listed by China, and acted as requested by China to ban entries of Tibetans who are in the list.
Immigration officials have said that the Chinese Embassy had written to Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to restrict a person named ‘Penpa Tsering’ from entering the country, labelling him a campaigner of the Free Tibet movement, as well as a strong advocate of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The officials were unsure whether the same person was the one black-listed by China or not. But wanting to be on the safe side they deported him to the US via Doha on Saturday evening.
Nepal supports the “One-China” policy, which says that Taiwan, as well as the occupied regions of Tibet, East Turkistan, and Inner Mongolia, are all part of China.
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa was consulted for the deportation, which was Nepal’s act of honouring the “One-China” policy.
China is the largest source of investment and aid in Nepal.
Home to about 20,000 Tibetans, Nepal over the years has restricted the basic rights of Tibetans in the country, due to the growing Chinese influence. It does not recognise Tibetans who arrived in the country after 1990 as refugees, and therefore does not issue any documentation for them to live there.
Tibetans are denied freedom of expression and assembly, any political activities against China, and any public activity promoting their culture and religion.