Kathmandu trades Tibetan lives for Beijing’s money
by Kalpit Parajuli
For the first time, a 60-member Chinese delegation visits Nepal. Beijing offers economic aid and long-term infrastructure investments worth US$ 70 million in exchange for support of its anti-Tibetan policies.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – China will provide Nepal with economic aid and investments worth US$ 70 million. Following a three-day visit by a delegation of 60 top ranking Chinese officials, including China’s Deputy Minister of Commerce Chen Jian, the two countries signed agreements on cooperation and investments in agriculture, transportation, information technology, infrastructural development and poverty reduction.

The visit, which wrapped up yesterday, marks a new beginning in Sino-Nepali relations, making the mountain nation a new privileged partner for Beijing in South Asia. In exchange, China wants Nepal to intensify its crackdown on Tibetan exiles and promote “a policy of harmony” among the countries of the region.

Although Chinese investments are necessary to help Nepal crawl out of its current economic and political stagnation, many Nepali politicians and diplomats accuse the government of selling out the country to Beijing.

The first to pay the price of the policy are Nepal’s 22,000 Tibetan exiles. For 50 years, they had seen Nepal as a haven where they could flee from China’s grip.

For Nepal’s former ambassador to China Rajeshwor Acharya, Beijing wants to destroy the Free Tibet movement, which keeps the spotlight on China’s violations of human rights against the people of Tibet.

China also wants to remove Nepal from India’s sphere of influence, the diplomat explained. For centuries, Nepal’s southern neighbour was its main economic and political partner.

Foreign policy expert Nischal Nath Pandey agrees. For him, relations between the two nations are moving in the wrong direction, tilted too much in favour of Beijing.

“The delegation came to Nepal in order to enhance the anti-Tibetan repression,” he said. In fact, Chinese authorities gave the green to investments promised in previous meetings only when Kathmandu agreed to crack down on Tibetan exiles.