Exiled Tibetans Protesting Seizing of Ballot Boxes In Nepal

Pro Tibet Protests in New York. Image by Tenzin Dorjee, used with permission

Angry Tibetans around the world are condemning Nepal’s actions in confiscating their ballot boxes by protesting in front of the Nepalese consulates. In New York, despite the rain, they carried banners and shouted, “China respect Democracy in Nepal,” and “Nepal, Give Back Our Ballot Boxes Now.”

Yesterday, October 3, the Tibetan Government in Exile was holding a preliminary round of elections for Tibetan’s all over the world to nominate candidates for Prime Minister-ship, [Kalyon Tripa] for its government in exile. Nepali officials were informed way ahead of the event, as in the past, but apparently no objections were raised.

But yesterday, as elections were progressing smoothly every where else, it was only in Nepal where armed policemen (in riot gear) stormed polling stations across Kathmandu and confiscated ballot boxes that contained thousands of Tibetan votes.

Nepali Police Descend on Boudha Precinct. Image by Flickr user tmgonzalez. CC BY-NC-SA.

Flickr user tmgonzalez posts this photo essay today accompanied by a low resolution photo (above):

The police set up a perimeter outside the voting station in the early afternoon. [..] At 4:30pm local time armed Nepali Police, in a coordinated effort, forced their way into the three Kathmandu voting precincts for the Tibetan Government-in-exile presidential election and stole the ballot boxes.

Radio free Asia’s footage of armed Nepali police seizing ballot boxes made its way across the Internet yesterday causing angry Tibetan’s to mobilize and call for action.

According to a press release issued by Students For a Free Tibet, an activist group, “Tibetans in Nepal have for decades participated, unimpeded, in the Tibetan democratic process and should be allowed to continue doing so. Under the leadership of the Dalai Lama, Tibetans have established a democratic system in exile that represents their commitment to upholding the democratic rights and freedoms denied to Tibetans living in Chinese-occupied Tibet.”

Tenzin Dorjee, executive director of SFT said, “The mistreatment of Tibetans by the government of Nepal is an ugly stain on the record of a country that has for decades provided a safe haven for Tibetan refugees.”

Mikel Dunham, author of “Buddha’s Warriors” – a book about the Tibetan uprising and the involvement of CIA, wrote at his blog from Nepal:

Apparently, all China has to do to get its way in Nepal these days is to speed-dial Nepal’s Home Minister Bhim Rawal, and the perceived problem will be eliminated. This is what happened on Sunday, when Nepal’s northern neighbor pressured the struggling government to disrupt the peaceful election held by Tibetan refugees.

He continues:

Where’s the affirmation of the basic human rights due every human being in Nepal in such a backroom operation?…..The irony here is that, while Nepal’s government can’t conduct a successful election for its own prime ministry (nine failures in the last two months!) the Tibetans, who conducted a quiet and orderly election (with no funds or bureaucratic might), will certainly result in the naming of a new Tibetan prime minister – with or without the ballot boxes absconded by the Nepali government at the behest of Beijing. The contrast is as blatant as it is shameful.

Shameful indeed, just last month it was reported that Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara was caught on tape asking a Chinese authority for Nepali Rs. 500 million to distribute to lawmakers of other political parties to buy their votes in the Prime Ministerial election.

On Mikel’s blog titled: “Nepal’s Maoists: Dancing with China,” a Tibetan named Tenzin Yonten responded:

Its Nepal’s road to hell…..driven by these Maoists.

The Tibetan Government in Exile in India held run-off elections peacefully. Image by Flickr user TalkMediaNews. CC BY-NC-SA

And on Phayul, the online Tibetan news site, a Tibetan named Tibtopman said:

Chinese regime had a hand in Nepali Maoist since it was born, that is why they are able to rise into political power. [..] Chinese regime's involvement in Nepali politics is like a poison of slow death to the peace and harmony of Nepali people! […] In reality Maoist are selling the sovereignty of Nepali people to the autocrat Chinese regime, what crime can be more serious then endangering the sovereignty of Nepal and the lives of many thousands of innocent Nepali?

Billk from Melbourne Australia commented on the Phayul post about the disruptions of the elections:

Chinese friends who are loyal to the regime have pointed out to me that China is a generous donor to poor nations around the world. But its largesse comes with lots of strings attached, especially for neighboring states, like Nepal. This would have been yet another act demanded by Beijing to demonstrate how much Nepal appreciates China's “friendship.”

And Die4Tibet from the U.S added this comment:

To the United Nation Refugee Committee and Refugee Aid organizations, Office of Tibet, Tibetan Associations, Tibet Supporters and supporters of democratic system all around the world – please, please pressure Nepalese government not to repeat this kind of bullying act to poor Tibetan refugees again!! This is absolute mockery of entire democratic system in the world! I am just wondering how much money did Nepalese officials received from stealing those ballot boxes!!!! Unbelievable!

And what are the Nepali’s saying about this? Seemingly helpless, and disgusted by the Maoists, some Nepalis themselves have taken to facebook where they have started a group “We hate you Prachanda”; the title against the Maoist leader sums their sentiments best.

Thumbnail photo of pro Tibet protests in New York was taken by Tenzin Dorjee and used with permission.


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