As protests in Lhasa erupted just five months before 2008 Beijing Olympics, China was forced to realize that the Tibet issue could no longer be dealt as a solely internal matter. Neighboring Nepal’s capital Kathmandu was scene of violent struggle between local police and Tibetan protesters. International media flashed pictures of Nepalese police brutality against agitating Tibetans, just as Beijing imposed media blackout in Tibet. China could no longer ignore its Tibet-Nepal problem.
For centuries, Tibetans have enjoyed a warm relationship with Nepalese. Kathmandu is home to almost 12,000 Tibetan refugees; many of whom have assimilated into the society and rarely face any social problems because of their origin. Nepal’s Himalayan regions of Mustang and Manang are culturally and linguistically Tibetan; and Tibetan Buddhism has significant following across Nepal.
For the Nepalese authorities to ignore the long shared history with Tibet and come out in force against Tibetan agitators was a tough call.
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