Nepalese Police Detain 30 Tibetan Exiles Near China Border

Nepalese police detained about 30 Tibetan exiles heading toward the Chinese border to protest Monday, officials said.

The chief government administrator in the area near the Nepal-China border said the Tibetans were detained in Jalbire village, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of the capital, Katmandu.

The official, Kailash Nath Kharel, said the detained Tibetans have been transported back to Katmandu.

"We suspect they were planning to protest near the border because the group was marching through the mountain trail avoiding the main road," Kharel said, adding that the Tibetans did not get a chance to demonstrate.

Tibetan exiles have been protesting in Nepal since March against China's crackdown in their homeland.

They have mostly protested in front of the Chinese Embassy and United Nations office in Katmandu. Police routinely break up the protests, detain the demonstrators and then free them later in the day.

But Nepal has been criticized by rights groups for not allowing Tibetan protesters to demonstrate in Nepal and for using excessive force against those who do.

Nepalese officials have denied the allegations and say Nepal cannot allow protests against any friendly nation, including China, and have ordered police to protect foreign diplomatic missions in the country.

There are thousands of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal. Thousands more are allowed to pass through Nepal on their way to Dharmasala, India, where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile.