Chinese Expansionism in Nepal

Credit : 

Shiho Suzuki

Socio-Cultural Department

Fukuoka University, Fukuoka (Japan)


Recently China entered in Nepal. A small part of Nepalese territory is occupied by Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA). Ambitious China is not sparing any one in its neighbor. Almost 17 countries have some sort of territorial dispute with China. The major risks are with Japan, Taiwan and India. The US, though not a neighbor is actively trying to control Chinese interference in South China Sea. There are several recent incidents of face off between Taiwan, India and Japan. The desperation to become global leader, Chinese government, taking aggressive steps to show its supremacy in regional area and global platforms. Nepalese area is the new addition to this.

Nepal, as we all know, culturally and geographically more connected to India. The present government of Nepal, though, wishes to join the Chinese camp for its economic empowerment. It can be easily observed that Chinese economic success have lured many small nations and their governments. Nepal is recent one which is falling pray to it. Loans and debts avail by these nations have become a business of loss and Pakistan, a neighboring state of India and China, is almost ‘sold out’ to Chinese administration. Nepal may be the next. Unlike Pakistan, Nepal will be more prone to Chinese expansionism as they share a larger international boarder line. Nepal and India-both governments- underplayed Chinese occupation in their territories. The reason seems to be avoiding domestic criticism. However these issues are now floating well on the streets in India and Nepal. 

Media reports are saying, ‘Nepal and China are engaged in a boundary row in Humla after the Chinese side allegedly built 11 buildings in a remote part of the district that Nepal claims as its own territory’. China has adopted an aggressive infra development policy near boarder areas. Constructions in Humla are part of that policy. One of the Nepali officers-Bishnu Tamang-visited the disputed area and submitted his observations. He said, “The Chinese side claimed that the area where the houses are built falls within the Chinese territory.” Another media report say, ‘China has encroached at least 28 hectares of Nepali land spread across four districts of Humla, Rasuwa, Sankhuwasabha and Sindhupalchok.’ In a press statement Chinese ambassador to Nepal denied any illegal occupation of Nepalese land. Nepal in no way is capable of retaliation. In recent years its relations with India worsened. The communist forces in Nepal advocate stronger ties with China and create troubles to Indian sympathizer. In this scenario China has an advantage to move in slowly and silently into Nepal. 

The Nepal governments casual attitude towards the Chinese expansionism is the bell of warning. Examples of Tibet and Taiwan are before the international community. Reports are alarming. The Guardian quotes-’Shiva Upreti, the Gorkha district correspondent of Nepalese newspaper Annapurna Post in a story done on 7 July, had revealed that China has occupied the entire Rui village that comes under Gorkha district.’

The contemporary government in India, too, is not taking active role as it has played in case of Doklam earlier. Moreover there is continuous face-off between India and China in the northern most area of Ladakh. Chinese neighbors must unite to stop such unethical expansionism.

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