Tibetan Traders, Goods Blocked at Border Crossing With Nepal

Tibetan businessmen traveling to Nepal from southern Tibet’s Kyirong county are being stopped at the border for lengthy document checks, while Chinese tourists and traders are allowed to pass through without scrutiny, a source working on the border says.

Foodstuffs and other goods coming in from Nepal that bear labeling in Tibetan are meanwhile being turned back at the border by Chinese guards who cross into Nepal to carry out inspections, the source said.

“Armed border guards are sent across to inspect Nepali goods when the checkpoint opens at 8:00 a.m.,” a local trader named Tsering Dondrub told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“Chinese officials in plain clothes also cross the border into Nepal to look closely at cargo and to see what people are doing, and Nepali citizens are sometimes paid to spy on the activities of Tibetans traveling on the Nepali side of the border,” Dondrub said.

Tibetan traders, tourists, and pilgrims going into Nepal are “singled out” for lengthy checks on the Tibetan side of the border, resulting in delays of up to two hours for those wishing to cross, Dondrub said.

At present, no food items of any kind are allowed into Tibet from Nepal, Dondrub said, adding that goods coming from India or Bhutan, but labeled in Tibetan, are also blocked from entry.

“But Chinese goods are allowed to pass [from Tibet] into Nepal without any restrictions at all,” he said.

China’s main border crossing to Nepal was moved to Kyirong in Shigatse prefecture after an earthquake in April 2017 destroyed the main crossing established earlier at Zhangmu in Nyalam prefecture, about 70 kilometers (43 miles approx.) to the east.

The crossing at Kyirong was opened to foreign travelers on Aug. 28, 2017.

(Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.)

(A map showing the location of Kyirong county on the Tibet/Nepal border. Photo: RFA)

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