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Thursday, December 9, 2021

China Neck-deep in Nepal’s internal political power play

Ambassador Hou Yanqi, Beijing’s envoy to Kathmandu, has even met with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who supports Prime Minister KP Oli.

(TibetanReview.net, Jul08’20) – As factions of Nepal’s ruling communist party fight for power and control of the party, China, which proclaims non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries to be a cardinal foreign policy, is neck deep in trying to sort out their differences. Ambassador Hou Yanqi, Beijing’s envoy to Kathmandu, has even met with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who supports Prime Minister KP Oli, in alleged violation of diplomatic protocols.

There has been a flurry of meetings between Hou Yanqi and top leaders of Nepal, exacerbating concerns both at home and abroad about possible Chinese interference in Nepal’s domestic politics, reported timesofindia.com Jul 7.

The report noted that the meetings had come at a time when Oli, who is known to be close to China, was busy staving off calls from his own party leaders to step down for incompetence.

Hou’s active parleys in May this year helped Oli retain his seat. But it has not lasted.

Apart from Bhandari, Hou has also met influential leaders and former PMs Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal. Both have demanded Oli’s resignation as PM and also party chairperson, the report said.

Hou was said to have also sought a meeting with Oli’s rival and party co-chair PK Dahal Prachanda.

China’s task to Save Oli this time is daunting. As many as 30 in the 44-member standing committee of the party were reported to have demanded Oli’s resignation.

Meanwhile, reports in Nepal’s media were cited as saying Hou’s meeting with Bhandari wasn’t approved by the foreign ministry and violated the diplomatic “code of conduct”.

Bhandari had earlier quickly approved Oli cabinet’s recommendation to prorogue the ongoing session of Parliament. The recommendation was seen as being meant to forestall any attempt to force Oli to take a floor test.

Hou is said to have emphasized before Khanal and Nepal the need for them to amicably resolve their differences with Oli and ensure that the party remained intact.

A Chinese embassy spokesperson was quoted as saying by Kathmandu Post that “China did not wish to see the Nepal Communist Party in trouble and wished that leaders would resolve their differences and stay united”.

China was said to have made similar efforts to save Oli’s government in 2016 too.

Oli has adopted a pronounced anti-India stand to apparently retain the Chinese government’s support.

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