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17march2010217Dharamshala: Around 25 Tibetan refugees jailed in Nepal for protesting against the Chinese occupation of their homeland began a hunger strike on Monday to demand their immediate release.

Pressure is mounting on the Nepalese Government to prevent Tibetan refugees from staging any anti-China protests. Despite increasing criticism of its weakened regard for Tibetan refugees' human rights in Nepal, the authorities have said protests against friendly nations such as China will not be tolerated.

Police are on alert to rush the hunger strikers to hospital should their health deteriorate, said Kathmandu's Chief of Police Ganesh Chettri. There is growing concern among the international community about the economic relationship between Nepal and China, and the increasing disregard of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Tibetan refugees in Nepal.

More than twenty-five Tibetan protesters were arrested during the 51st Anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising (on March 10 and 14) for trying to storm the Chinese Embassy's visa office. They were ordered to be held for 90 days under the public security act, allowing the authorities to take action against protesters determined to be a public threat.

Tibetan refugees in Nepal have been protesting regularly against China since 2008 - a source of embarrassment to the Nepalese Maoist government, which wishes to strengthen ties with China despite its record of human rights violations in Tibet.

Thousands of Tibetan exiles live in Nepal, and hundreds more are allowed to pass through the country on their way to Dharamshala, India, where the Tibetans' spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, lives in exile.

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