US seeks clarification from Nepal for deporting Tibetan American

This screenshot of the webpage of Department of Immigration, Nepal shows American national Penpa Tsering on the blacklist. Image: The Himalayan Times.

DHARAMSALA, 28 June: The Nepal government was left red-faced after the Embassy of the United States in Kathmandu has sought clarification over the deportation of the Tibetan American on suspicion of being an agent of the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama on China’s behest.

Alarmed by the deportation of the US citizen on the basis of a request from a foreign government by the Nepal government, the embassy officials are said to have sent a formal request for clarification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday over the matter, six days after it took place and two days after it was reported by the media.

“We are seeking clarification from the Nepal government about the facts of this specific instance and, more generally, on whether US citizens seeking to enter Nepal will be subject to clearance from other foreign governments,” US Embassy Spokesperson Andie De Arment has reportedly said in an e-mailed statement.

Penpa Tsering, a 53-year-old Tibetan American who arrived at Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport from New York City via New Delhi on Saturday was stopped by the immigration officials and after questioning harshly for hours was later deported to the US on suspicion of being an agent of the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama.

A man by his name was the ‘most-wanted’ person by China. Though the immigration officials doubted whether the person who arrived at the airport was the same person was wanted by China, they chose to be on the safer side by deporting him to the US and not offending Beijing by ‘honouring’ Nepal’s One-China policy.

Penpa who has flown to Nepal legally on a multiple-entry visa from India for 10 years to reunite with his friends and relatives in Kathmandu was deported to the US via Qatar on Saturday evening by the Nepalese authorities.

The Nepalese authorities mistook the Tibetan American as Penpa Tsering, the former Tibetan Representative of North America and former Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile.

Responding on the misreporting from Dharamsala where he has been living for the few weeks, the former Speaker of the Tibetan parliament has described it as a clear case of mistaken identity which clearly shows the extent of Chinese influence in Nepal.

The Former foreign secretary of Nepal Madan Kumar Bhattarai, has described the blunder as a something that is not new globally, as authorities concerned try to avoid taking risks according to a report on The Himalayan Times.

“Nevertheless, the government should acknowledge the mistake,” he said in the report added that Nepal should be careful and not take arbitrary decisions as a sizeable number of tourists from the US visited Nepal.

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