本文作者為印度尼赫魯大學博士，現任尼泊爾加德滿都大學教授，主要研究領域為政治社會學。作者特別感謝 Uma Nepal女士以及2013-4年度發展研究碩士班同學們在田野研究過程的協助。聯絡方式：firstname.lastname@example.org。感謝黃捷歆（中興大學國際政治所碩士研究生）協助中譯，原文謹編排於本篇中文版之後。
尼泊爾有十五區連接西藏自治區，使得尼泊爾與中國的邊界總長為一千四百三十九公里。但約有七百公里的邊界因地形險峻而無法進入。雙方基於善意，在距邊界的二十公里範圍內都未設置武裝人員。特別說明一下，尼泊爾通往西藏共有三十七條路。雙方政府已開放六個官方出入口，以方便人民、貨品流通與其它交流。這些邊境檢查點為Yari-Purang （Taklakot），Lomanthang （Nechung）-Jili，Rasuwa-Kyerong，Kodari-Nyalam （Khasa），Kimathanka-Riwo與 Olangchung Gola-Riwo。然而，人們亦由下列幾處通過邊境：Lipulek，Tinkar，Ural Bhanjyang，Khoptang Chaur，Musigaon，Naru，Larke Bhanjyang，Lamabagar，Namche Chhule與Lonak。
即使我們在下午三點左右抵達塔托帕尼，還是只能隔天才能跨越邊境。我們利用晚間來熟稔當地生活，同時計畫隔天的行程。依據計畫，我們前往移民局申請單日往返邊境證件。我們共有十九位學生參與此次教學團，包括一位來自加德滿都的尼瓦爾 （Newar） 的女同學。由於她的蒙古人種臉型與骨架，派駐於樟木鎮的尼泊爾官員建議她不要跟其他成員一起跨越邊境。他們認為具有蒙古臉型的尼泊爾人進入樟木鎮後，會很難回到尼泊爾，因為中國官員恐會認為她是試圖逃離西藏的藏人。雖然所有的成員（包括她）皆攜帶大學學生證與公民證件，但尼泊爾官員仍建議本國學生不要通關，僅讓其他成員通過。身為領隊，我試圖提出幾個問題，當一個人因為臉型而被判定為某一族群時，攜帶有效文件有何意義？在現代的21世紀，為何政府還鼓勵並合理一些完全沒道理的論點並要求其公民遵行？
過了橋便是一座引人注目的大門，有中國軍人守在兩側。我們再向東南方走約五十公尺，那裏座落著一棟宏偉的前衛建築 – 移民局。訪客必須提交由尼泊爾政府認可的訪客證與身分證。等待的同時，我們可再次觀察中方同樣的行為，檢查身分證的效期與真偽。此時，其中一位通過第一關中國安檢的學生，在移民局這關遭拒，因為「他的臉和身分證的照片不符合。」
國家民主黨黨魁Pashupati Sumsher JB Rana時為計劃的首席顧問，他創立身分證發行部門。在計畫正式啟動後，Rana試圖拜訪西藏邊境區域。他按照協議內的步驟，獲得由塔托帕尼移民局長官Kamal Raj Yogi核發的第一枚身分證前往中國。但即便他攜帶著跨境時官方要求的身分證件，還是中國警方攔住，禁止進入西藏，Rana只得悻悻然返回尼泊爾。
這事件筆者是從一位尼泊爾籍邊境研究學者Buddhi Narayan Shrestha的部落格（http://bordernepal.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/experiencing-nepal-china-kodari-khasa-border-crossing/）得知，因為完全沒有媒體報導，包括尼泊爾官方媒體。Shrestha在他的部落格提出爭議點，「最有可能的是計畫委員會並未告知中方，計畫主持人要跨越邊境。」Shrestha也描述他們的團隊在跨越樟木鎮邊境時遇到的困境。他妻子與朋友的證件被中方刁難，強迫他們必須找尼泊爾官員出面。此外，當他們站在屬於尼泊爾國境的橋那方拍照時，一名中國公安一邊叫囂一邊朝他們丟擲石塊。以下第四個案例是他描述當時的經過。
Some observations about border management between Nepal-China
Uddhab P Pyakurel, PhD.
Nepal’s 15 districts border with Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR); whereas the total length of boundary between Nepal and China is 1,439 km. But around 700 km of it are inaccessible owing to harsh terrains. It is a measure of the goodwill the two sides share that none has stationed armed personnel within 20 km of the border. For the record, there are 37 mountain passes between Nepal and TAR of China. The two governments have opened six formal entry and exit points for the movement of people, goods and merchandise. These border crossing points are Yari-Purang (Taklakot), Lomanthang (Nechung)-Jili, Rasuwa-Kyerong, Kodari-Nyalam (Khasa), Kimathanka-Riwo and Olangchung Gola-Riwo. However, people also cross the border from Lipulek, Tinkar, Ural Bhanjyang, Khoptang Chaur, Musigaon, Naru, Larke Bhanjyang, Lamabagar, Namche Chhule and Lonak into the TAR.
Nepal and China signed an agreement on Sept. 30, 1956 that is called 'Agreement on Trade and other Related Matters between the TAR of China and Nepal’. It was renewed last time on July 10, 2002 which says that those who wish to travel to the other country shall hold valid passports issued by the sending country and visa issued by the receiving country. It has provisioned exit-entry passes with photo affixed ID Cards for inhabitants of the border districts for the purpose of border trade, pilgrimage and visiting relatives and friends. But they are not allowed to go beyond the limit of 30 km from the borderline towards the interior of the other country. Another agreement was signed and ID card system was introduced at the ministerial level meeting of the two countries after the King’s visit to China in 2002. According to the agreement, any inhabitant of the bordering district who wants to cross the Nepal-China (Tibet) and vice versa have to produce an authentic Identity Card compulsorily and those failing to comply with the rule will not be allowed to cross the border. The government officer, assigned by the Chief District Officer (CDO), provides ID cards to those who show the official identity card or citizenship certificate or other cards provided by the government. This new rule which was enforced from 1 January 2006 allow the residents of Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Solukhumbu, Dolakha, Sindhupalchok, Rasuwa, Dhading, Gorkha, Manang, Mustang, Dolpa, Mugu, Humla, Bajhang and Darchula to visiting the nearby areas of Tibet without producing visas. Besides, inhabitants of Kathmandu Valley are also visiting Khasa (Zhangmu), the commercial town of China border with the ID card.
The border opens at 8.00 am till 3.00 pm and then again it is opened for half an hour at 5.00 pm in the evening. Between these hours, many people move around the Liping bazaar of Nepal and Zhang Mu Port, China. They move around for various reasons and each seems to be engaged in their work. The main purposes for the movement of people are for trade of many goods like blankets, soft toys, garments, electric goods and for touristic purpose. However, the border is being used for human trafficking and other criminal activities. Many people, mostly girls and children, are trafficked for the purpose of sexual and labor exploitation. It is said that many dance bars, hotels, restaurants, brothels (Jhuppo) are available in Khasa bazaar and many Nepali girls are taken there for sexual and labor exploitation. Interestingly, the bulk of the
clients visiting the bars in Khasa Bazar are Nepali businessmen, travelers and truckers. "Almost all" the clients visiting these bars are Nepalis) including
businessmen and locals of Kodari-Tatopani area.
Moreover, people cross the border for employment as well. As soon as the border gets opened at 8 am, one can easily notice that large number of female with blue pass enters into to the China border, and these ladies are working as sales girls in the Chinese shops. There are about 90 female workers working across the China border whereas only 5-6 male workers are there to perform the same job.
Immigration office of Nepal does not have record of Nepalese and other foreigners’ movement over the border. However, the Peace and Rehabilitation Centre which collected five rupees from each individual to issue pass for those who crosses the border can give an estimation of the number of people. On an average the total pass of Nepali citizen is 2100 but it is predicted to get more than 4000 per day in peak season. So, the movement also has a seasonal factor which includes tourism and shopping of woolen products in winter days and for pilgrimage. Mostly, Indians travel through the route as pilgrims for visiting Mansarovar.
What I have observed in Tatopani (Liping bazaar of Nepal and Zhang Mu Port, China) of Nepal-China border
I got an opportunity to visit Nepal's border with its neighbours in April 2014. It was the time when I had to lead a team of my Master's students studying Development Studies and opting Economic Diplomacy as one of the optional subjects. Though I was quite familiar about Nepal-India border it was exciting momentum for me to observe and understand Nepal-China border management. As far as new knowledge is concerned, the study visit became awesome for me due to the following cases:
Case One: Though the team reached Tatopani on the same day at around 3.00pm, we had no option except to wait for next day to cross the border. We tried to use the evening time to familiarize with the locality, and accordingly planned for the next day trip. According to the plan, we left hotel for the immigration office for one-day pass to cross the border. As mentioned earlier there were 19 students in the educational tour, and out of all a Newar (Maharjan) girl from Kathmandu was also in the team. Since she had Mongolian facial structure, she was suggested by Nepalese officers deployed in Khasa border point not to go with other team members to cross the border. Their argument was that it is very difficult to return back to Nepal if any Mongolian faced Nepalese entered Khasa because the Chinese authorities often perceive that any person with such facial look is a Tibetan trying to escape from Tibet. All the team members including her were carrying their university identity cards and citizenship certificates cards. Even then, Nepali government officers suggest a Nepali student not to assert with her identity but to let her team go without her. Being a team leader, I tried to pose a couple of questions to myself asking i.e. what is the meaning of carrying a valid document if somebody is being identified as per his or her facial structure, and how can a government body of the 21st century rationalize and encourage such an irrational argument and suggests its citizen to behave accordingly?
Eventually, the officers came with a solution, and that was she had to put a big and red Tika on her forehead so that she looks like a girl from Nepal. Since we had to find a prompt way out due to time limitation, we followed their suggestion. Also one of the Nepalese officials agreed to provide his company to facilitate us to cross the border. That is how our team was able to move from Nepal’s border point towards Khasa.
Case Two: The story didn’t end up with Tika. We all were in queue to cross the border, and everyone had carried their original citizenships and one day pass issued by Nepal immigration as these were the essential documents to cross the border. Once our team reached the middle of Miteri Bridge from where Chinese control starts, another student from our team was stopped by the Chinese solder saying that he cannot move ahead towards China. The Chinese security saw the citizenship and didn’t let him enter the border. The solder’s argument was that the photograph in the citizenship was not matching with his face. Citizenship certificate is a document which is issued once someone crosses the eligibility age that is 16 years. Then, it is obvious that the face will be little changed with the age. The student showed his college identity card and tried to explain to prove that he was the same person as in the citizenship card. I also tried to convince the solder showing my university identity and saying that I am leading the team and I will be responsible for bringing him back from China. However, I was pushed towards China side whereas he was not allowed to even speak and was forced immediately to return towards Nepal side.
Once crossed the bridge, there is an attractive gate where one sees Chinese military standing in both the corners. Then visitors have to move some 50 meters towards South-eastern part. There is a huge immigration building with very advanced technologies. That is the place where a visitor has to submit the visitor’s pass issued by Nepal government with their identity cards. While doing so, we could again observe the repeated behavior of Chinese authority to question about the validity and originality of citizenship cards people carry out with them. One member of our team who was allowed by the first Chinese security personnel after verifying his citizenship, was denied immigration saying that “his face and the photo in the citizenship card does not match”.
We spent half-a-day in Khasa went up to some 20 Kilometer inside TAR and returned from Khasa town to the Nepal border crossing point with some shopping. The same procedure was followed to show the permit paper and citizenship certificate. Chinese immigration official stamped the Exit Mark on the immigration paper and then we crossed the borderline. This time there was no harassment by the Chinese immigration authority; may be because the document has been already checked and verified while entering. Once we tried to understand the border management system of Nepal-China by observation, we encountered a very interesting document posted on walls in the Nepali side of the border. The document issued by Nepal Immigration office had clearly notified in a written form about the restriction to cross the border for those with Mongolian face particularly, Lama, Sherpa, Limbu, Gurung, Rai, etc.
While some of our team members were roaming in the Nepali side of bordering bridge, they were threatened by Chinese officials suggesting not to use their cameras or else, they would destroy it. When a citizen of Nepal was being threatened without a reason, no security personnel from Nepal counter reacted to it. Having observed the situation, one of our team members commented questioning whether the Chinese security officials deployed Nepali government officers. Such a reaction came due to the fact that those Chinese officers easily and frequently visit Nepali side of the border to threaten those visitors who try to take photos from Nepalese side. Also, they are generally caught fighting with locals in front of Nepali officials.
Once we observe the above-mentioned scenes, firstly it came as a big surprise for us. It was because we never hear about such bitter stories covered by media even if it is very much there in the Nepal-China border. Since we could listen and read a lot about harassment in the Nepal-India border, I was expecting only the rosy picture of the border. Then I tried to understand the reaction of media, government officials of Nepal and even the local Nepalese about the situation. However, what we found was that the media has still remained silent, even when decent Nepalese are facing the difficulty in Kodari-Khasa border point. Instead of reacting with their counterparts, and doing needful work save the interest of Nepalese citizens, Nepalese officers rather suggests Nepalese to remain silent and with their do(es) and don’t(s). To all these cases, there was very less or no local reaction. The following case reminds that no media give attention on the issue of Nepal-China border management.
Case Three: Nepal and China agreed to introduce the ID card system at the ministerial level meeting of the two countries after the King’s visit to China in 2002. According to which the government officer of Nepal, assigned by the CDO, provides ID cards to those who show the official identity card or citizenship certificate or other cards provided by the government, and s(he) will be allowed one day entry permit by the Chinese Immigration office. This new rule was enforced from 1 January 2006. Card distribution function was inaugurated by the then Rastriya Prajatantra Party President Pashupati Sumsher JB Rana, as a chief guest of the programme. After the inauguration programme, Rana tried to visit Tibet’s border area. Rana followed the agreed procedure, collected ID Card Number-1 issued and signed by Chief of the Tatopani Immigration Officer Kamal Raj Yogi and went towards China. But he was stopped by the Chinese police without any consideration for his ID card. Rana was prevented from entering Tibet although he had been issued the necessary ID card for getting an entry permit to Tibet. Infuriated Rana turned back when he was not given an entry permit by the Chinese police even after showing his card.
This is the incident, which was not reported by any media, including Nepal's national media. The author of this paper also knew it while reading a blog by a Nepali ‘border researcher’ Buddhi Narayan Shrestha. His blog argues saying that “most probably the program organizing committee had not informed to the Chinese immigration office that the chief guest of the program is visiting the other side of the border”. In fact, Shrestha is the one who also narrated the difficulty his team faced while crossing Khasa border. The citizenship his wife and friend carried was questioned by the Chinese police forcing them to seek help of Nepalese officers to convince Chinese counterparts, and a Chinese police threw a piece of stone at them and cried while they were taking some photographs on the bridge on the Nepali side. He writes:
Case Four: My wife and one of my relatives had the old type of citizenship certificates (on plain Nepali paper), not as the card format. Chinese immigration officer was about to stop them. But one official from Tatopani immigration office was with us. The Nepali official took guarantee for my wife and relative that they will come back from Khasa, and it was permitted to cross the border. The Chinese official stamped the Entry Mark on the immigration paper…while we were making immigration permit at Tatopani office, the official had already told me that the Chinese official may not permit with this old type of citizenship certificate. So they were kind to us and joined one of the immigration officials and one armed police with uniform and one Sub-Inspector in plain cloth. They accompanied and escorted us up to the border crossing point and taxi stand. They managed one taxicab for us with a reasonable fare to drive to Khasa town and they returned to Tatopani. It was possible that Armed Police DSP Arjun Thapa recognized me as a Border Researcher, as I was talking with the security personnel at Nepal immigration office. Thanks god.
But even after such harassment, he writes saying that “infrastructure of the immigration office on the Chinese side was up-to-date as it was like any of the developed countries”. One argument may be that citizenship issued by Nepal is neither in international language nor machine readable, and the Chinese security faces challenge due to such problems. Nevertheless, it does not provide pretext for Chinese as Nepalese are using the same citizenship as travel document while using flights to and from Delhi, India, and there is no such incidents faced by Nepalese while using the same documents even in Delhi airport.
Then, I tried to compare the situation between Nepal-India border and Nepal-China border. It seemed that these Nepalese officials have developed the habit of obeying the Chinese to do or not to do. Nepal-China border management is relatively better managed than Nepal-India border. However, in Nepal-India border, despite the chaotic circumstances, the issues like harassments and maltreatment were less than in the north. People to the South can easily argue with the concerned authorities if they feel that they are being maltreated by the Indian or Nepali officials.
Analyzing the scenario at both the border point of Nepal, a number of questions arises as an serious issue. i. e. what is the relevance of the bilateral agreement if Chinese security unilaterally stops somebody to cross the border even if she/she follows the due procedure? How could a Chinese security, without any proof, term an authentic and original document issued in Nepal as invalid document and behave accordingly? Interestingly, not just from the Chinese side, the Nepalese themselves discourage its people rather than being assertive and protective towards their nationals. Though any Nepali citizen provides an original document, Nepali state itself discourages its citizen, in the written form, to cross the border. In that situation, who cares about the interest of a Nepali in the international border? The same media does not hesitate to write even the editorial if there is similar or even a less serious case of mismanagement or harassment case in Nepal-India border. Publishing editorial was not wrong, In fact, it will help correct and improve the situation if media covers such issues. Here, I am just trying to understand the difference in perceiving two border management systems by the locals and others.
A couple of questions are in my mind i.e. what are different factors that might be playing a role for causing such differences in the two borders. Is it due to our (Nepalese) dilemma to see India as very close brother on the one hand, and a strong sense of ‘Nepali nationalism’ that has to be anti-Indian on the other? Or is it due to lack of understanding and command in language, gesture and behaviors which made difficult for Nepalese and Chinese to interact with each other? Or is there something else which makes Nepalese to be assertive while dealing with Indian and to keep quiet while dealing with others including Chinese? These questions can be the basis for further research.
The researcher also tried to compare other border related phenomenon i.e. illegal trade, smuggling of goods etc. The general perception, especially in Nepal and India, is that open border is instrumental in encouraging these kinds of activities. But our observation helps us to argue that such activities are everywhere, whether it is open border or closed border. In Nepal China border, we have observed that there are hundreds of people who are working as carrier to smuggle goods. Nepali rice, Nepali gas cylinders, Indian mehendi items etc. are the most smuggled items from Nepal to China, and it is being smuggled openly in front of Chinese security. The Chinese security which stops travelers and questions the validity and authenticity of the original documents issued by the government does nothing to those carriers who smuggle goods from Nepal to China. Interestingly, one could observe the fact that the smugglers cross the bridge with the goods, sit in the front side of the immigration building in order to hide the goods inside their body, and cross the immigration. All things happen in front of security. Though women and children of the local areas were mobilised to smuggle goods in the daytime, goods are smuggled in the night as well by using some alternative routes. These evidences help me further to argue for the open border mechanism saying that it is more people friendly than the so-called closed and regulated border.
 Both legal and illegal trade is being carried out regularly and the people involved in such activities are people from different background. Talking to the truck drivers, everyone was male. The traders were both male and female who bought goods so that they could sell it back home. However, in case of illegal trade, the large numbers of people involved were female and children; there were hundreds of women involved in illegal trade in a single day. Similarly, the number of children involved in such activities was also surprisingly high. Also there were large numbers of Nepali workers in the markets of Zhang Mu Port working as assistants to the Chinese Shopkeepers in comparison to the males.
 As per one of the volunteer of Maiti Nepal, sometimes even 15-16 girls are rescued from there in a day. The broker usually takes away the citizenships and the passes of those girls due to which they become unable to run away and come back to Nepal. But in some cases, the girls are able to contact the border securities, they are jointly rescued by the police and Maiti Nepal.
 For details, see “KHASA HAS ONE MORE ATTRACTION: SEX”. The Kathmandu Post, March 1, 2000.
For details, see Experiencing Nepal-China border crossing at Kodari-Khasa, available at http://bordernepal.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/experiencing-nepal-china-kodari-khasa-border-crossing/, accessed by the author on September 29, 2014.
 See, Editorial, Nagarik Daily, September 25, 2014.
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