China has reportedly issued a temporary travel restriction on its citizens visiting Nepal and asked its travel agencies and airlines to cancel all travel plans and bookings made until January 10 with immediate effect. The travel advisory has been circulated to travel and tour operators and airlines in China, but it has not been published in the Chinese government’s website, the Kathmandu Post quoted Nepal-based travel agents, as saying.
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Senior Nepal government officials were reportedly quoted, as saying that the travel advisory has been issued by Beijing to prevent Tibetans from visiting India via Nepal to participate in the 34th Kalachakra Initiation scheduled for January 3-14 in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. No other reason was cited. Chinese officials in Tibet—in provinces like Sichuan, Qinghai and others—have even urged residents not to visit Nepal, India and Bhutan.
According to Tibetpost.com, Chinese officials have already started keeping a tight rein on those who wish to participate in the Kalachakra. Many Tibetans have already arrived in Nepal and India for the pilgrimage in order to attend the religious ceremony, says the website. “The Chinese authorities are likely to have stepped up pressure on the Nepali authorities to keep tabs on Tibetans in transit through Nepal, including those with legitimate Chinese passports.”
Nepal’s Ambassador to Beijing, Leelamani Poudyal said in an e-mail response that none of the Chinese offices like Public Security Bureau of China and Tourism Bureau had any information updated on their websites about the restrictions. The Embassy of Nepal in Beijing also enquired with the China’s Foreign Ministry about the Chinese measures, but the ministry also dismissed such a move, saying that they do not need to take up such measures politically as Nepal follows and stands by the one-China policy. Some sources said that the move was taken some 15 days ago by the Chinese authorities in various provinces in China.