border review | 9 June 2012

Tibet closure, Tibetans sent back

Ten days after the wave of Tibetan self-immolations reached Lhasa, Chinese authorities have closed the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) for foreign visitors until further notice. This also seems to apply to Indian pilgrims on their way to Mount Kailash. Hundreds are stuck at the border, according to IBN. Moreover, even Tibetans on their way back to Tibet are shut out, as Tendar Tsering reports for Phayul:

A group of nine Tibetans, five males and four females, from the Nagchu area of Tibet were detained at the Nepal-Tibet border by Chinese police late last month while returning back home. According to sources, the Tibetans were detained for nine days, beaten, and stripped off their travel permits issued by the local Chinese authorities and handed over to Nepali officials.

The Tibetans are currently being held by Nepali immigration officers in the capital Kathmandu and are most likely to be sent to India upon refurbishing a bail of US $ 37.5 each.

Closing Tibet for foreigners in times of heightened tension is, of course, a pattern we have seen several times over the past years. However, sending Tibetans with Chinese passports back to Nepal is a new development. The group was allegedly among the thousands of Tibetans who participated in the Kalachakra ritual in Bodhgaya (India) in January (sere here and here). Many of them were hassled on their way back to China. The group apparently delayed their return until the dust settled.