KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — China has pressured Nepal to impose tough controls on thousands of Tibetan refugees, including arbitrary detention, excessive use of force and intrusive surveillance, an international human rights group said Tuesday.
Human Rights Watch said in a report that China is heavily pressuring Nepal because it does not want the Tibetan refugees to protest Chinese rule in their homeland.
The New York-based group said Nepal continues to offer some protections to Tibetans, but is succumbing to Chinese demands that it limit the number entering its territory. It said the number of arrivals dropped from an annual average of 2,000 to about 200 in 2013.
Nearly 20,000 Tibetans who fled their homeland now live in Nepal. Others travel through Nepal to India where their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama lives in exile. They often use the treacherous mountain trails across the Himalayas to reach Nepal.
Nepalese security forces regularly block Tibetans who attempt to demonstrate near the Chinese Embassy’s visa office in central Katmandu. The protesters are generally removed by force and detained for few hours in police stations.
Nepal’s Home Ministry denied Tuesday that Tibetans are mistreated. It said it has a policy of forbidding hostile activities in its territory against neighboring nations.
Ministry spokesman Shanker Koirala said Nepal has been providing support and assistance to Tibetans on humanitarian grounds for decades.
‘‘It is a false allegation that they are mistreated by the Nepalese authority,’’ he said.
China is an important source of arms, aid and investment for Nepal.