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Nepal: Suffocating Chinese High Handedness!

Nepal: Suffocating Chinese High Handedness!Niraj Aryal: It all started with a junior official at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu asking a senior Nepali journalist to visit the Embassy to collect a bottle of scotch whiskey. This happened during the last Nepali Dashain Festival. Hilarious, isn’t it?

Obviously, the news spread in the social media like a wild fire.

This Whiskey event nonetheless signaled the beginning of a tragic end to friendly support China was getting from the Nepali population in matters related to regional and international affairs.

Though, age old Nepal-China relations in itself is the witness of existing friendly ties between the two countries, but the general public have slowly but surely begun suspecting China’s real intentions in Nepal.

Political awareness among Nepali population is much higher than in China.

Add to this, the uncontrolled activities of incumbent Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Ms. Hou Yanqi is making matter even worse.

Back to the whiskey event, the ‘senior editor’ is said to have made a direct complaint to the Chinese Ambassador of how he was asked to collect the gift from the Embassy and that such an act was not acceptable to him.

The media man, reportedly also told Ambassador Yanqi that he was not an embassy guy to come and collect the gift.

This event could have been a wake-up call instead for the Chinese establishment in Kathmandu, not to be so in the days ahead, Chinese high-handedness grew significantly in Nepal’s internal matters.

Keen watchers in Nepal even claim that the Ambassador’s activities are not only acceptable ‘diplomatically’ but in many more ways than one have been damaging cordial ties that exists in between the two countries since ages.

In the days ahead, she brought more troubles. Look what she did next.

Ambassador Yanqi unannounced entered Singh durbar- Nepal government’s secretariat, with a heavy load of Scotch Whiskies to meet with the newly appointed Minister for Employment, Rameshwar Roy Yadav.

Yadav who is made in the same mold of all tainted Nepali politicians readily accepted the gift. This event was not well received in the social media as few photos of the minister receiving alcoholic gifts from China, got leaked.

Ambassador Yanqi might have concluded that Nepalis can simply be bought by few bottles of Whiskey! She is not entirely wrong.

Further to the second whisky event, Chinese penetration in Nepali politics visibly have grown to a dangerous level.

Here goes another Ambassador Yanqi bombshell.

Some senior Nepali editors affiliated with various media groups had to issue a strong worded statement recently criticizing the Chinese Embassy for “threatening” an editor of a daily newspaper for publishing an opinion on China on his newspaper. Yes, threatening!

The opinion piece talks about how China is hiding information on Coronavirus and that is making matter even worse.

The editors made the statement in response to a Chinese Embassy statement which not only criticizes the editor of the Kathmandu Post, Anup Kafle of being biased on China’s related issues but also threatens him for publishing an opinion piece on the spread of Coronavirus.

In a direct attack on the Kathmandu Post and its the then Editor Anup Kafle for the article ‘China’s secrecy has made coronavirus crisis much worse’, Ambassador Yanqi issuing a vitriolic statement said, “The Kathmandu Post published an article with malicious intention, deliberately smeared the efforts of the Chinese government and people fighting against the new coronavirus pneumonia and even viciously attacked the political system of China. We, hereby express our strong dissatisfaction and firm protest to it.”

In response, the statement issued by senior Nepali editors reads “We respect any individual or organization’s right to express their dissent or refute contents of the press. But, we disagree with the act of accusing the editor, by mentioning his name, and threatening him for publishing an opinion or news.”

The embassy statement reads further, “It is regrettable that Mr. Anup Kaphle, Chief Editor of the Kathmandu Post has always been biased on China-related issues. This time he went as far as disregarding the facts and becoming a parrot of some anti-China forces and, therefore, his ulterior purpose is destined to failure”.

The reality is also that Nepali media is not at all a sacrosanct entity, it is a wide open fact how Nepal’s big media houses have time and again betrayed their own country on matters related to Indian highhandedness in Nepal.

The Nepali media is often blamed for compromising Nepal’s sovereignty in exchange of lucrative advertisement business coming from multinational Indian companies, which is largely controlled by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

However, Chinese blatant attack on Nepali media is the height of undiplomatic expressions coming as it did from the envoy of a longtime friend China.

Moreover, as is the diplomatic practice, the embassy reserved the right to contradict the article with polite and modest words or could have approached the Foreign Ministry with its reservations against the Kathmandu Post. But the Ambassador chose to take a disgustingly wrong path and tried to malign the entire Nepali media. This is simply unacceptable.

Look what a commoner talking to this scribe recently said, “Our own leaders have looted this country but China, who used to act like a good friend of Nepali people is turning out to be a crooked businessman who will not offer help unless it sees a profit here”.

Sad it is, but this is how the general Nepali perception is changing on China from a good friend to a crooked business man.

For the road, let’s read what Nepal’s top journalists have to say on the fresh Chinese highhandedness.

Reacting to the Chinese Embassy statement, Anup Kafle, now an erstwhile editor in chief of the Kathmandu Post himself said, “What an honor on my last day of work in this country”.

Senior journalist Vijaya Kumar Pandey says, “The tug of war between the Chinese embassy and the Editorial of the KP is not a common issue”.

Similarly, Kanak Mani Dixit, a senior media man said, “Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi has forgotten diplomatic decorum, and also that Nepal remains a democracy.”

Likewise, responding to the statement, Sudheer Sharma, editor in Chief of Kantipur daily said that “reaction of the Chinese embassy is quite objectionable”.

Finally, Ambassador Yanqi must understand a simple fact that though Nepal’s journalists have to face constant threats, acts of persecution and sometime even threat to their lives from believers of extreme ideologies, but they remain undeterred in expressing their views on internal political matters as well as regional and international affairs.

Be it also known to the Chinese envoy- who hails from an authoritarian society that, in Nepal not just folks in the editorial rooms but, commoners too are equally competent to analyze complicated local, regional and international political matters in an undeterred manner.

Mind it, this is not possible in her home country and in the last decade or so since her Chinese communist brethren in Nepal have made matter eviler, otherwise Nepalis have been born free.

Will Nepal’s majority communist government summon the ambassador from China and ask her not to exceed her “diplomatic limits”? Forget it!

@telegraphnepal

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