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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Nepal, China trust and respect each other: Ambassador Zheng

June 17, 2008

By Yuba Nath Lamsal
Nepal Rising
June 15, 2008

Zheng Xianglin, Chinese Ambassador of Nepal, is a career diplomat,
who has worked for many years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
China and Chinese missions in many countries. Born in Liaoning
Province in June 1954, he joined Foreign Service of China in 1997 as
a staff member at the Chinese Embassy in Japan. Prior to his
appointment as the Ambassador to Nepal, he served as the Deputy
Director General of the Department of Foreign Affairs Management at
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. Ambassador Zheng believes
that Nepal-China relations are excellent and free from  problems. In
an interview to The Rising Nepal, Ambassador Zheng said that China
and Nepal always show mutual support and cooperation on issues of
mutual concern. Excerpts:

Q: How are the preparations for the Olympic Games going on?

A: The Beijing Olympic Games will begin at 8 o'clock on the evening
of August 8, 2008. All preparation works related to the Olympics have
been nearly completed. Specifically speaking, 37 Olympic competition
venues and 56 training venues are ready. The test of "Good Luck
Beijing" Sport Events has proved that all venues are up to the
standard of holding Olympic events. The Olympic Torch will arrive in
Beijing just before the opening ceremony of the Olympics. In
addition, the following works also have entered the final stage:
security arrangement during the Olympics, volunteer recruitment and
training, press service, event organization, and the accommodation,
transportation and food arrangement for athletes and officials during
the Olympics.

Q: But some in the name of Tibetan people are protesting in Kathmandu
and elsewhere aiming to disrupt the Olympic Games. What do you say about it?

A: The Olympic Games is a sports event, which provides a platform for
fair competition and communication of athletes all over the world.
The Olympic Games should not be politicized, which is the
understanding of the international community and people from all
nations. However, in order to separate Tibet from the motherland, the
Dalai clique linked the Olympic Games with politics, masterminded the
serious criminal acts of violence involving beating, smashing,
looting and burning in Lhasa on March 14, and rampantly instigated a
series of political activities aimed at disturbing and sabotaging the
Beijing Olympic Games in many countries including Nepal. I want to
say that Dalai clique's intension to split China will get nowhere,
and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will surely be successful.

Q: Who do you think is behind these protests?

A: Dalai Lama and the so-called "Tibetan Government-in-Exile" are
behind the protests. Now, one leader dispatched by the "Tibetan
Government-in-Exile" is in Kathmandu, holding secret meetings with
the ringleaders of some organizations for "Tibet Independence"
including "Tibetan Youth Congress", and plotting various anti-China
political activities.

Q: China has achieved tremendous economic progress. What is the
secret of this success?

A: This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening
up. Earthshaking changes took place in China during the past 30
years. China's total GDP ranked No. 4 in the world in the year 2007,
but the per capita GDP is still very low. On the whole, Chinese
people have reached a well-off standard of living. The population
living under the poverty line in China has been decreased from more
than 250 million before the opening-up to about 20 million at
present. Life expectancy has witnessed a large increase. Education,
medical care, health, social security and other public understandings
are developing fast and improving gradually.

The successful experience in China's reform and opening up can be
termed for short that China combines the promotion of reform and
development with the maintenance of social stability, advancing
reform and development in social stability and promoting social
stability through reform and development. There are two famous
sayings in China. One is development is the fundamental principle.
Stemming from the basic national conditions, the Communist Party of
China finds a socialism development road with Chinese
characteristics, with the essence of focusing on  economic growth and
development. The other is maintaining stability is that is of top
priority. As long as the society remains stable, different tasks can
be completed, people can lead a happy life, foreign investment can
flow into the domestic market, and the economy and the society can
move forward. In the reform and opening up, China attaches great
importance to combining developing social productivity with enhancing
the cultural and ethical quality of the whole nation, improving
efficiency with promoting social justice, and remaining independence
and self-reliance with engaging in economic globalization.

Q: On the international front, what role China is playing in creating
just world order?

A: China holds high the banner of peace, development and cooperation,
adheres to the independent foreign policy of peace, and the road of
peace and development. China firmly pursues a strategy of opening-up
for mutual benefit and seeks to develop itself through striving for a
peaceful international environment and to promote world peace through
self-development. China will continue to promote world
multi-polarization, advocate democracy in international relations and
diversity in development models, and encourage the progress of
economic globalization in a direction that benefits the common
prosperity of all nations. China firmly opposes hegemony, power
politics, and terrorism in all its manifestations and will work for a
new international order that is fair and equitable. The Chinese
Government and people are ready to join hands with people from the
world to create a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity.

Q: Some western media and human rights activists say there have been
massive human rights abuses in China in general and Tibet in
particular. What is the ground reality?
A: On April 9th, Mr. Jampa Pahtsok, the governor of the Tibetan
Autonomous Region of China said in a press conference held by the
News Office of the State Council of China that the human rights
situation in Tibet now is the best in the history of Tibet. Mr. Jampa
highlighted the concrete benefits that Tibetan people enjoyed after
the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet by sharing their own experiences.
Since the Peaceful Liberation, with the support and assistance of the
Central Government as well as peoples of all nationalities of China,
the life of the Tibetan people has witnessed earthshaking and
thorough changes. Tibetan people have become masters of their own
fate compared with the serfdom period under the Dalai Lama. The
living standard, the average lifespan and the literacy rate have
increased and the Tibetan culture is soundly preserved and developed.
The life expectancy for Tibetans 50 years ago was 35.5 years old, but
it has now reached 67. There are more than 1000 schools of different
kinds in Tibet, compared to no formal school fifty years ago. There
are currently more than 1780 religious sites in Tibet with over 46000
monks and nuns. Religious freedom is fully respected.

Q: The Communist Party is ruling in China. But the economic policies
that China has adopted do not seem to be communist programmes, but
they seem to be more capitalist. Is it not contradictory?

A: China is implementing the Socialist Market Economy with Chinese
Characteristics. Insisting on the basic socialist system, the
Communist Party of China has developed a market economy under
socialism so that the economic activities follow the requirements of
Value Rule, to liberate and improve the social productivity to
increase the comprehensive national strength and to improve the
people's living standard. Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China's
Reform and Opening-up policy said that, practice of a planned economy
is not equivalent to socialism because there is planning under
capitalism too while practice of a market economy is not equivalent
to capitalism, because there are markets under socialism too. The
truth has told that China has found a road of economic development
unique to its national situation.

Q: You have already adopted one China two systems after taking over
Hong Kong and Macao from colonial powers. What is the policy towards Taiwan?

A: Now major positive changes are taking place in Taiwan's situation,
and cross-Strait relations show a good momentum for development.
People on both sides and the international community are willing to
see these changes. Under the new circumstances, the Chinese
Government will continue pursuing the policy and principle of
developing cross-Strait relations to realize China's peaceful
reunification, adhering to one China principle, and firmly grasping
the theme of peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. The
Chinese Government will continue opposing and controlling separatist
activities for "Taiwan Independence", further enhancing the
cross-Strait personnel exchange and economic and cultural cooperation
and contribute to the realization of direct links for mail, trade and
transport services between the mainland and Taiwan. We will also work
for resuming talks with the Taiwan authority on the basis of "1992
Consensus" reached by Communist Party of China and Kuomingtang,
solving different problems in a pragmatic way, seeking the well-being
of our compatriots on both sides of the Straits and for peace in the
Taiwan Straits region, and turning a new page for peaceful
development of cross-Strait relations.

Q:  Do you see the unification of Taiwan with the mainland in the
foreseeable future?

A: The peaceful development of cross-Strait relations is the common
wish and concerns the common interest of Chinese compatriots across
the Strait. It is also the common aspiration of all countries and
people in the world, including Nepal, that love peace. We firmly
believe that the unification of Taiwan with the mainland will come
true someday.

Q: Could you elaborate on Nepal-China relations?

A: China and Nepal are good neighbors, friends and partners. The
bilateral relations have maintained good momentum for development in
various fields such as politics, economy, personnel exchanges and so
on. Of course, compared with the close political relations, the
economic cooperation and personnel exchanges are far from
satisfactory. We hope both sides can make joint efforts to enhance,
not only the economic and trade cooperation, but also the exchanges
in the fields of education, culture, tourism and personnel exchange.
The key for the fresh friendship and neighborliness between the two
countries lies in that the two sides can always treat each other as
equals and with sincerity, and trust and respect each other. China
and Nepal always show mutual support and cooperation on issues of
mutual concern.

Q: What is the present state of Chinese assistance in Nepal?

A: Since the establishment of China-Nepal diplomatic relations in
1955, the Chinese side has always been offering grant assistance to
the Nepalese side without any political strings. The assistance from
China is mainly used for infrastructure construction which relates to
the life of the people such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and
so on. Last year, the Chinese side provided the Nepalese side with 10
million RMB (Rs.95 million) worth of election materials as the
support to the peace process. The construction of Banepa Polytechnic
Institute and the Civil Servants Hospital assisted by China has been
completed and two projects will be handed over to the Nepalese side
soon. At present, some projects are underway including
Shyfrubesi-Rasuwaghadi road, the office building of National Trust
for Nature Conserve and so on. What more, the Chinese side is
considering improving the Arniko Highway and building a dry port near
Tatopani for the Nepalese side.

Q: Nepal has undergone a big political change, what will be China's
policy in the present changed context in Nepal?

A: China's good-neighborly and friendly policy to Nepal is
consistent. As a good neighbor and friend of Nepal, we sincerely hope
that Nepal continues to move forward with the peace process and enjoy
political stability and economic progress. The Chinese Government
adheres to the principle of non-interference into the internal
affairs of other countries, and respects the choice made by Nepalese
people on its social system and development road in light of its own
national conditions. We are ready to make joint efforts with Nepal to
promote the bilateral friendly relations and cooperation.

Nepal is expecting increased support from China for its
reconstruction, and social and economic development. What would be
China's response?

The Nepalese society is waiting for rejuvenation and the
reconstruction remains tough. China is willing to offer any kind of
support and assistance within its capacity to help Nepal realize
development and prosperity at the earliest.

Q: What are the areas of cooperation that China would like to accord
more priority in future?

A: The two sides can discuss and study  this issue. I think there is
great potential for cooperation and development in some fields
including economy and trade, development of water resources, tourism,
agriculture and so on.

Q: Would you please elaborate on Nepal-China trade and economic
cooperation, and what do you think should be done to further promote
the bilateral trade and cooperation in the future?

A: In recent years, the bilateral trade and economic cooperation has
been developing quickly. In 2007, the bilateral trade volume reached
401 million US dollars, registering a 50% increase than the year
2006. However, in comparison to the bilateral political relations,
the trade and economic cooperation is very small. In the future, both
sides can work on improving customs clearance conditions at Khasa
(Zhangmu) port and discuss the possibility to open new border ports,
so that bilateral trade cooperation will reach a new height.
Meanwhile, the two sides can take measures to work out favorable
policies to encourage and support mutual investment by private enterprises.

Q: The CPN (Maoist) has emerged as the largest political force in
Nepal. What will be the relationship of the Mao's China with the CPN
(Maoist) in Nepal?

A: China respects the choice of Nepalese people, and is willing to
develop friendly relations with all political parties, including the
CPN (Maoist).
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