Reports of China getting more and more involved in Nepal’s politics has been doing rounds for quite a while but the involvement turns out to be a little too much to digest. China’s envoy to Nepal Hou Yanqi has been regularly meeting up with the political leader and now is involved in fresh controversy for pressuring leaders to come out in support of the current Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
It is not a very new arena to deal with for Hou, as earlier this year, when the ruling party was going through an internal rift, she had conducted a series of meetings with the leaders of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and convinced them otherwise of ousting Oli. A lot of political analysts think that China played a huge role in bringing the top leaders and forming power forces of the ruling party.
Political analyst Jay Nishant told The Himalayan Times (THT) that in the last five-six years Chinese interference in Nepal’s domestic affairs had surged and that was a reflection of China’s flexing of economic and military muscle in the region and beyond. Even Lokraj Baral expressed his concerns while talking to the Kathmandu Post. “How long can the party sustain an artificial unity promoted by a foreign envoy anyway? Another such analyst and Nepal’s former permanent representative to the United Nations Dinesh Bhattarai told THT that Yanqi’s meeting with Nepal looked unusual and untimely. Bhattarai added that if China acted to keep the party united repeatedly, the move could “anger other powerful countries who have a presence in Nepal”.
What might have triggered the ongoings was the fact that a lot of these meetings were held in secret. An under secretary of the foreign ministry is posted in the President’s Office to brief Bhandari on potential meetings with foreign dignitaries and envoys, but this official wasn’t informed about the meeting between Bhandari and Hou, a report in Kathmandu Post said.
“As per the diplomatic code of conduct, foreign ministry officials should be present at such meetings, but we were not informed,” an unnamed ministry official told The Post. “So there is no institutional record of the meetings and we don’t know what the talking points were.”
When the Chinese Embassy was approached for a comment, in an obvious stance, defended the envoy. “The Embassy keeps good relationships with Nepali leaders and is ready to exchange views on issues of common interest at any convenient time,” said Zhang, according to a report in the Kathmandu Post.