KATHMANDU: In what is seen as the latest sign of China’s threatening retaliation on the issue of border encroachment and the findings of the Nepali Congress (NC), Beijing has fired another shot across the bow through its mouth piece alleging NC for what it said “smearing” its image.
NC has meanwhile remained adamant saying it would not budge an inch from its stance. The party has also come down heavily on Beijing’s denial of encroaching Nepal’s territory in the Humla district.
The latest spat of animosity between NC and China has brewed of late after NC central member Jeevan Bahadur Shahi submitted a field-report to the party alleging China of encroaching Nepali territory.
China tried to hit the bush through its mouthpiece, Global Times, alleging NC for “hyping” the border encroachment issue.
The war of words by China has continued to escalate, with yet another scathing opinion piece published recently in Global Times, a Chinese government’s mouth-piece that said: “The China-Bhutan border dispute rumors followed false allegations of China trespassing Nepalese land. The rumor started in October and was widely hyped up by Western and Indian media.”
It has alleged that the findings of the field report submitted by Shahi were “politically motivated”.
The main opposition party NC has demanded the formation of a joint committee to study the Chinese encroachment in Humla as validation from both sides. So much so that the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu also sent an undiplomatic letter to NC soon after Shahi’s report was publicized.
“The Chinese Embassy wrote that I spread the rumor about Pillar 11, but I have been reiterating that some elements are talking about Pillar 11 as the lost pillar so that the concern towards Pillar 12 would get diverted,” Shahi told Khabarhub.
The physical structure built by China in Lolungjong falls in the Nepali territory and that China has encroached on Nepali land in Humla, according to Shahi’s report.
He also urged authorities concerned to send the survey team to study the boundary situation in Humla. “The joint team of both countries will come out with the truth if dispatched to the area. But the language used in the Embassy’s letter looks like a threat and it seems to undermine my position and personality,” he said in a recent interview with Khabarhub.
In the letter exclusively obtained by Khabarhub, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu had accused lawmaker Shahi of ‘repeatedly spreading claims accusing China’.
The Embassy said Shahi’s claims are not only contrary to the facts but also amount to “deliberately undermining the friendly relations between our two countries which the Nepali Congress has always been committed to, trying to impair the interests of both our peoples”.
The team led by Shahi had last month concluded that China has encroached on Nepal’s territory in the border district of Humla after their 11-day visit to the Nepal-China border.
The Global Times has also alleged Shahi of being a “blind supporter” of US policy. “His party NC supported the team’s findings in the media and is the largest opposition party in the Nepali House of Representatives and the National Assembly, and is also considered a pro-India force,” it said.
It should be noted that Shahi said he felt threatened after China responded aggressively to a report by his team, which showed the “communist nation had encroached on Nepal’s land in Humla.”
“I want to reiterate that China will be responsible if anything unfortunate happens to me,” Shahi has said in an interview with Khabarhub.
Shahi, meanwhile, claimed that China could be hatching malicious plots against him for his findings.
Speaking exclusively to Khabarhub, he reiterated that the paper release in Kathmandu and Beijing are of no use in fact-findings unless the joint committee consisting of experts from both sides visit the encroached area and observe it based on international parameters on boundary disputes.
Meanwhile, the report on Global Times has further alleged Shahi for being “the one to provoke the Nepal-China border issues.”
It said that China has repeatedly made it clear that there was no border encroachment from China.
China has also encroached some two kilometers of the section of a road built by Nepal from Gappudocha in the district, according to Shahi.
He said the team carried out an 11-day study from Pillar-5 to Pillar-12 in which it was evident that China had encroached Nepali territory in the district of Humla.
Meanwhile, China has been using its mouthpiece, The Global Times, for disseminating false reports on Nepali media and the anti-China protests.
The report, referring to some “anonymous insiders”, has alleged some staffers in the Indian Embassy for supporting young members of the Nepal Samajbadi Party to organize street demonstrations near the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu.
“Such activities have increased since the India-China face-off,” the report said adding, “One can assume, accordingly, the Indian embassy officials might have used NC leaders to speak out against China.”
Realizing China’s menacing efforts to repeal NC’s findings, NC leaders have expressed their insistence to remain adamant to their stance.
“How can it be that if anyone turns sycophant eulogizing China despite the unjust treatment, he or she is right but if the person speaks based on the facts he or she is provoking China?” Shahi said objecting to the undiplomatic and unjust behavior of the dragon neighbor.
He also challenged the authority to prove him baseless and wrong and reiterated his call to form a probe committee.
NC Vice President Bimalendra Nidhi said NC’s authentic opinion has come out at the central committee meeting and added that his opinion was also best reflected in the party’s decision.
“The Global Times’ news is biased and unjust,” Nidhi told Khabarhub, adding, “NC’s opinion is best expressed in the central committee decision. That is our authentic opinion, and we stick to it.”
Another influential leader of NC and former General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula remarked that The Global Times’ perception about Nepali Congress is wrong.
“Then Prime Minister and NC President BP Koirala had given a new dimension to Nepal-China relationship and had established a cordial relationship between the two countries,” Sitaula recalled.
“It is regrettable that the Global Times has been speaking so badly about NC and the democratic system in Nepal. This proves its bias against NC.”
Deputy General Secretary of NC Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat also opines that a joint committee with members from both sides should study the border dispute and restated that provided China thinks Shahi’s report is not based on facts, it should show its readiness to form a joint committee for the purpose.
“NC’s voice has come out in the form of the central committee decision. If China thinks the issues raised in the party’s central committee member on Shahi’s field-based report are ‘manipulated’, it should show its readiness to form a joint committee to study the issue,” Dr Mahat told Khabarhub.
“Our party has made a thorough discussion on the Chinese Embassy’s letter, boundary dispute at Namkha and the report prepared by Shahi and has prepared a minute on the issue. That’s our authentic voice,” NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma told Khabarhub.
“The Global Times may continue to write against NC. However, this will not affect our understanding of the issue.”
Another central committee member NC Dr. Minendra Rijal is more concerned about the Chinese Embassy’s letter.
“More than the Chinese newspaper’s report, the Chinese Embassy’s letter is more serious,” Rijal told Khabarhub adding that the Chinese Embassy failed to understand the significance of the NC-China relationship.
“The embassy needs to understand it,” he added expressing the hope that Beijing would further investigate the issue.
“If Beijing or the ruling party’s leadership there consents to the Embassy of China’s position, then it would be unfortunate,” he said.
NC leader Shankar Bhandari, too, objected to the Global Times’ continued criticism of Nepali Congress and its leaders.
He reminded that despite China’s direct involvement in the ruling Nepal Communist Party’s internal affairs, NC has not made it a big issue yet and added that his party is observing it all patiently.
Youth leader of the party Pradeep Paudel regarded the news published against the historical democratic party NC in China’s official newspaper as regrettable and reminded that NC works on the national interest and wants to deal with international relationships in a diplomatic manner.
“Any attempts to ill-represent or misinterpret our ideals are objectionable and regrettable,” NC leader Paudel told Khabarhub, adding “We want to retain a good and friendly relationship with both India and China.”
Likewise, Kalyan Gurung, another young leader of said that to regard NC as ‘pro’ to any country is not to understand the party’s glorious history and the continuation of it.
Meanwhile, Dinesh Tripathi, a senior advocate in Nepal said that the Chinese official media’s criticism of a major party in a neighboring country has to be regarded as the official line of the government as well.
He added that the latest incidence of criticism against NC was almost unjustifiable and it is against diplomacy and international practices.
Ganesh Mandal, a freelancer and civil society leader pointed out that all political parties of Nepal are made by Nepali people hence China’s allegation against Nepali Congress is unacceptable.
“China has not understood Nepal, it took more than 150 years for India to understand Nepal, how can China understand Nepal in 2/3 years,” Mandal told Khabarhub.
“The evidence shows that China has encroached Nepal’s land. We want to keep our land safe.”
He added China is the country with border disputes with the highest number of countries. “It still has boundary disputes with 12/13 countries at present,” he reiterated.
Human rights activist and civil society leader Professor Kapil Shrestha also opined that the land dispute between Nepal and China should be resolved by forming a team of experts from both countries.
“Lately, China’s attitude towards Nepal is different from the general public’s expectation here,” Professor Shrestha said, “China has been showing undemocratic and arrogant attitude towards Nepal these days.”
Likewise, political analyst Arun Subedi remarked that despite Nepal’s commitment to “One China Policy”, China has come aggressively against Nepal.
Subedi blamed the political parties for giving space for such interference in domestic affairs.
He regarded the government-backed corporate media’s backlashing a political party of the neighboring country as objectionable.
Subedi said the government, too, needs to condemn the act.