Liping - Sabin Das Shrestha could hardly wait to reach Khasa to shop for clothing. But when he tried to enter through the Tatopani border area, Chinese border security guards tore his immigration papers and beat him up. "All I wanted to do was buy some goods," says Shrestha who was slapped around and made to turn back. Locals in Liping are complaining about the continuous mistreatment of Nepalis by Chinese soldiers, despite proper documents that should allow them to enter Khasa. This action is a violation of the Nepal-Tibet Treaty that allows both Chinese and Nepali citizens who possess entry papers to travel within 30km from the borders for the duration of a day. "I don't understand why they are acting like this," says Shiva Ram Gelal, chief of Tatopani Immigration Office, who personally went through a similar experience at the hands of the Chinese. A lot of Chinese can be seen travelling inside Nepal without any papers. They are never questioned or stopped by Nepali immigration, but Nepalis are harassed with guards manhandling even those with legitimate papers.
"At times, I have been refused entry," says Shiba Kumar Katuwal, chief of Tatopani Customs Office. "It's difficult to comprehend why this is happening. Our entry to China depends on their mood." Last week, a dozen Nepali journalists visiting China were held up for almost an hour near the gate, especially after the Chinese guards found out their occupation. "You need visas," they were told.