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Tibetans Struggle To Preserve Culture

on 2001/3/13 8:45:02 ( 1405 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, March 6, 2001: This recent article discusses the attempts of the Tibetan people to preserve their culture as new immigrants to the United States. Tibetan children enrolled in a Sunday language course in Manhattan have never seen Tibet, nor have many of their parents, exiles who were born and raised in refugee settlements in India or Nepal. Young Tibetans struggle to maintain the culture of a homeland many have never seen, while also trying to adapt to a new culture. Tibetan leaders complicate the issue by expressing mixed feelings. Many believe the culture will not survive if Tibetans scatter across the globe. In just a decade, the number of Tibetan exiles in this country has increased tenfold. It is still a small group, with the largest concentration of about 2,000 people in New York City. The Immigration and Naturalization Service considers Tibetans stateless, but it has opposed most asylum requests from those who lived for most of their lives in Nepal or India. The agency's position is that an applicant must prove that he or she suffered or fears persecution in the country of last residence. U.S. Judges generally decide that India and Nepal treat Tibetan exiles well, and few asylum applications have been granted. Canada, on the other hand, grants most asylum requests from Tibetans. Judges there feel that a Tibetan who does not have citizenship in India or Nepal runs the risk of one day being deported to China, which now controls Tibet. "If you have no status in a country, you don't have a right to remain," said a Toronto lawyer. "And the Tibetans really don't have a home."

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