Tibet Unrest Squeezes an Unstable Nepal

Tibet Unrest Squeezes an Unstable Nepal

From the TV footage coming out of Nepal these days, it is easy to forget that the Himalayan nation is struggling to build a viable democracy. Almost every day since mid-March, when anti-Chinese protests erupted in Tibet and other countries, images of Nepali police beating Tibetan demonstrators have been beamed around the world.

Nepal's major political parties and former Maoist rebels have promised to build an open and inclusive state after years of turmoil. The people are preparing to vote April 10 for a new assembly that would write a new constitution embodying a federal democratic republic. Yet barely two years after having defied King Gyanendra's direct rule, Nepali parties seem to have emulated the palace in cracking down on another group of pro-democracy protesters.

With China limiting international access to Tibet, the most conspicuous images of the anti-Beijing protests are coming out of the Nepali capital, Katmandu. The demonstrations and the strong government response have forced many ordinary Nepalis to ponder their geographical vulnerability.

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