Chinese troops encroaching on Nepali territory, report finds
The Nepali government wants to settle the issue by diplomatic means. The affected area borders on Tibet. China denies accusations that it is limiting religious and economic activities on the Nepali side. Security considerations are said to be behind China’s actions.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – According to a report by the Nepali government, Chinese troops have crossed over into the territory of the small Himalayan state in Humla, a district on the border with Tibet, where the population largely depends on trade with China.
This is the first time that Nepali authorities have officially made accusations of this type. However, the government has not yet made its findings public, which was reported by BBC News yesterday.
The Chinese embassy in Nepal denied any border violations, whilst the Nepali government said that the issue will be dealt with through diplomatic channels, as it is doing with India over a boundary dispute.
Nepal has chosen a soft line; over the past few years, it has sought to boost its ties with China to counterbalance Indian influence.
According to the report by a Nepali taskforce, Chinese security forces are moving into the Humla area, carrying out surveillance operations and limiting religious activities in Lalungjong, on the Nepali side of the border.
On the Chinese side lies Mount Kailash, considered sacred by Buddhists as well as Hindus, and the object of pilgrimages.
For the Nepali taskforce, the actions of Chinese troops also hinder the movement of local farmers.
Nepal also claims that the Chinese started to build a fence along the border, as well as a road and canal on the Nepali side, but the taskforce did not find that China had constructed buildings inside the Humla district.
In November 2020, lawmakers from the Nepali Congress (in the opposition at the time) complained of Chinese encroachment in the area, stressing that China had annexed tens of hectares of land and built nine concrete structures.
The taskforce that drafted report suggests sending troops to the border area.
According to several observers, China’s interest in this section of the border is based on security considerations.
Beijing would like to limit the risk of infiltration by Indian forces, and at the same time block people from fleeing from Tibet to Nepal.
At present, some 20,000 Tibetans live in Nepal, whilst others transit through the country on their way to India or elsewhere, fleeing what they consider China's repression of Tibet’s Buddhist religious and cultural traditions.