Chinese interference in Nepal remains largely unchecked

Construction of nine unauthorized buildings in Nepal’s territory unacceptable

Ishwar Dev Khanal

September 21, 2020

7 MIN READ

Chinese interference in Nepal remains largely unchecked
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KATHMANDU: China, which seems to gradually enhance its influence in Nepal through pressure or intimidation, shows no indication of flinching.

Of late, Beijing is making all efforts to enhance influence in Nepal – both overtly and covertly – in political, cultural and economic sectors.

One recent glaring example is the construction of nine illegal buildings on Nepal’s territory in Humla.

This was revealed after Assistant Chief District Officer Dalbahadur Hamal of Humla made an on-site inspection of the Lapcha-Limi region of Humla from August 30 to September 9.

Unfortunately, the region does not enjoy the State’s presence because of its remoteness from the district headquarters.

The District Administration Office, Humla has reported about the encroachment to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), and the case has already been forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

It is high time that Nepal checked China’s increasing pressure and interference, particularly in the political sector at a time when the world is witnessing an escalation in China’s territorial aggression.

This is one latest evidence that China is trying to leave its footprint in Nepal through its role in the strategic realm.

Observers have to note that the Chinese economic and political presence in Nepal has gained momentum which includes a series of controversial, tenacious approaches and pressure in this Himalayan country in recent times, which clearly demonstrates its foul intents.

On September 14, the Government of Nepal repatriated 41 Chinese nationals after finding their suspicious activities. They had come to Nepal on tourist visas.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, as many as 120 Chinese nationals, who were involved in illegal activities in Nepal, were arrested and extradited to Beijing.

These are some evidences of how China and its nationals are carrying out their activities in Nepal.

Likewise, in July 2019, a Chu Lang Feng, a Chinese national working as a Manager with a Chinese company “Chinese CMC Engineering” assigned to construct the Pokhara Regional Airport hit and knocked down Deu Kumar Tamang of Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality-9, and fled the scene.

However, the Chinese side was quick to put pressure on the Nepali authorities for his release despite the crime that he had committed.

Similarly, controversial Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, too, succeeded in obtaining tenders for all equipment for Nepal’s largest telecommunication service provider – Nepal Telecom and Ncell under Chinese pressure.

Observers have to note that as China is exerting pressure on the Nepalis, seeking benefits of good faith will have a negative impact on Nepal.

Chinese influence does not end here. Earlier in May and June, the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi tried to influence the senior leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) by intensifying political meetings.

Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal (L) hold talks with Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi in Kathmandu. (File Photo)

She was the talk of the town then when she made frantic moves to forfend the near-split of the NCP.

It has also been reported that she has easy access to all places, particularly the NCP top guns, including the Prime Minister.

Now, this is quite evident that China and NCP enjoy strategic relations.

Her stamina in the political meetings was a clear reflection of the depth of the interference in Nepal’s internal politics.

Analysts as well as independent thinkers maintain that China’s continued pressure on Nepal indicates how Beijing behaves with its neighbors.

They believe it is high time that Nepal checked China’s increasing pressure and interference, particularly in the political sector at a time when the world is witnessing an escalation in China’s territorial aggression.

They believe that if China fails to make a course correction of behaviors it has been showing in Nepal, it is sure to pose a challenge to China itself.

The Youth Congress Nepal (YCN), meanwhile, had then protested the “undiplomatic” activities of Chinese Ambassador Yanqi.

China, meanwhile, should not exploit Nepal under any pretext with the firm determination that any level of intrusion would infringe Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The YCN had said they were dejected by her undiplomatic activities and that such meetings could pose threat to Nepal’s sovereignty.

Coming back to the construction of the buildings on Nepali territory, this would be appalling as well as contrary to the core principles that have defined bilateral relations between Nepal and China.

It is, therefore, high time that the Government of Nepal took the issue of construction of the buildings seriously, and initiate diplomatic efforts to end such aggression in the future.

In fact, Nepal should not budge an inch from its stance come what may.

China, meanwhile, should not exploit Nepal under any pretext with the firm determination that any level of intrusion would infringe Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Moreover, the encroachment of Nepali territory will not be acceptable and tolerable to Nepal.

Even the government agencies in Nepal are undergoing hassles as the Chinese Embassy is involved in petty stuff and interest.

As a result, there have been instances of growing anti-China sentiments in Nepal of late.

Observers have to note that as China is exerting pressure on the Nepalis, seeking benefits of good faith will have a negative impact on Nepal.

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