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HomeNews ReportsAnti-China sentiments in Nepal rising over Beijing's interventionist and expansionist policies: Report

Anti-China sentiments in Nepal rising over Beijing’s interventionist and expansionist policies: Report

Anti-China demonstrations have become a frequent occurrence in Nepal, the report said, adding that Beijing is trying to further its territorial ambitions by expanding its role in various sectors, including in the security realm. 

China is drawing fierce pushback from Nepali citizens over its attempts to extend its sphere of influence over the Himalayan nation. For years now, Beijing has been trying to push its hegemonic designs in Nepal through the use of political, economic, and cultural means, employing the use of both coercion as well as persuasion to bring about its objective.

However, it is facing stiff opposition from several Nepali social organizations, which have organized protest rallies against continuing interference of Beijing in Nepal’s internal activities, a report published in Nepali news organization KhabarHub said. 

Anti-China demonstrations have become a frequent occurrence, the report said, adding that Beijing is trying to further its territorial ambitions by expanding its role in various sectors, including in the security realm. 

Swatantra Nagarik Group, an organization that has a presence across Nepal, recently organized a protest in Kathmandu condemning China for “interfering” in the country’s political and economic matters and encroaching Nepal’s land in many northern districts, including in Humla. 

The protesters carried signs and placards that read “Down with China government,” “Stop Chinese interference,” “Stop border encroachment,” “provide uninterrupted passage to Nepali students from China,” among others. 

As per the report, the students who attended the demonstrations felt that the unannounced blockade imposed by China on Rasuwa and Tatopani checkpoints had caused a further strain on the already deteriorating relationship between the two countries. 

In an attempt to expand its hold at the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point, China had violated its commitment to Nepal by declaring it as an international border under its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

China extorts money from Nepali locals in northern borders as it stonewalls years-old transit agreement

It is worth noting that Nepal under KP Oli had made many overtures to China, including the initiative to open the northern borders, which, however, has not yielded the desired results. It has only increased the resentment among the local Nepali citizens against their northern neighbours. 

Then there was a transit agreement too signed between the two countries in 2016, which allowed the import and export of goods to third countries through Chinese ports. 

Furthermore, during his 2019 visit to Nepal, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping had announced that he would transform the country from “land-locked” to a “land-linked” country. However, three years on, the Chinese commitment remains on paper, and no measurable progress to materialize Xi’s promise is made.

Meanwhile, a transit protocol between the two countries during President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s visit to China in April 2019 was also signed. As per Article 15 of the protocol, the agreement had to be brought into force one month after each country informed the other of its enforcement. 

However, months after signing the agreement, China is yet to hold up its end of the bargain, Nepalese claim, adding to the woes suffered by the Nepali traders who have to often pay hefty amounts of money for goods and transportation. 

Although China had agreed to the opening of six border checkpoints and its ports for smooth transport of goods from Nepal, to this day, only two checkpoints are operational—Rasuwa and Tatopani—both of which face blockades from the Chinese government. 

Nepalis from different walks of life have taken this stonewalling by China as a lesson on how Beijing employs pressure tactics to convert nations into its vassal states. 

On the other hand, observers claim China is imposing unnecessary and often draconian measures on Nepalis. A businessman quoted by Khabarhub said the Chinese forced him to pay a stiff amount of Rs 2 to 3 lakh per annum as house rent in Nepal’s Kerung area. 

Protests against China’s intereference to block passage of US grant of MCC to Nepal

Besides China’s covert malpractices in the border region, Beijing is also playing foul to drive a wedge between Nepal and the United States of America over its opposition to the Millenium Challenge Corporation(MCC). 

In a statement issued by the Nepal Democrat Union(NDU), the organization stated that China was using its intelligence wing, the Ministry of State Security, to disseminate propaganda and misinformation to subvert Nepal’s sovereignty, block the passage of US grant of MCC, and bring an end to Nepal’s relationship with other democracies in the world. 

The NDU recently launched a demonstration in the nation’s capital Kathmandu to draw the attention of Nepali lawmakers towards China’s negative influences and interventions in the country’s internal politics. It also condemned the “authoritarian” CCP and its aim of undermining Nepali identity, communal harmony, and its relations with other nations. 

A report published in a Nepalese Daily in November 2021 said a Chinese intelligence agency was playing an “active role” in destabilising Nepal’s relations with other nations. The report said Beijing had activated its spy network in Nepal to sabotage the Himalayan nation’s relations with other countries, most notably with the United States and is lobbying hard against the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact grant assistance provided by the United States.

Nepal is set to receive a grant of $500 million in aid from the United States under MCC. Though it was signed in September 2017, it is still awaiting parliamentary ratification. The inordinate delay in approval from Nepal’s parliament had caused the United States to express its concerns to Kathmandu.

Demonstrations against Chinese occupation of Nepali land

In September 2021, protests erupted in Nepal after the Chinese occupation of Nepali land in the Humla district and the continuous interference of China in the country’s internal politics. The protests were carried out by Loktrantik Yuva Manch(LYM) and saw participation from 200 cadres.

As per reports, China had built close to 12 to 15 buildings on Nepali territory in the Humla district. Locals had accused China of encroaching upon their land and demanded authorities to take action against them. Reports said China had secretly built structures and stopped locals from entering the region.

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