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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Communist Party of China calls its Nepal ties to order

December 27, 2007

Dr. Upendra Gautam
Telegraph, Nepal
2007-12-25

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has started rejuvenating and
reordering its ties with Nepal. This process of rejuvenation and
reordering was consciously triggered after the CPC's cool assessment of
State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan's official visit to Nepal in March
2006-just a few weeks before the April regime change. Tang's visit to
Nepal at the threshold of April regime change can be considered a
watershed in the fifty years of the formal Sino-Nepali inter-government
relations. The assessment of the visit on the Chinese governance was
perhaps enlightening. The Chinese governance since then seems to have
concluded that in the context of regime change in Nepal that too
happening in the beginning of the 21st century it was but an imperative
of importance to rejuvenate and reorder China's Nepal ties both within
and beyond formal inter-governmental diplomatic niceties.

Continuing Zhou Enlai's science of seeking knowledge and truth from
facts derived from the visits of neighboring countries including Nepal,
and realizing that systematic advanced and in-depth research and
proactive actions in time were the basic needs to rejuvenate and reorder
Sino-Nepali ties in the changed Nepali political context, Chinese
governance, of which CPC is the state organ in the lead, appears to have
started putting certain overdue initiatives in place. If "prevention is
better than cure," these initiatives should have had been in place by
the end of the 20th century, or before June 2001 when King Birendra and
his entire family was massacred in a planned manner.

Along with conducting several strategic dialogue and fact finding
missions by China's well known organizations such as China Association
for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC), Editors' Society of China
(ESC), China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR),
Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAIFU), China
Institute of International Studies (CIIS), Shanghai Academy for World
Watch, Yunnan Chinese Association of South Asian Studies, Guangdong
Trade and Economic Group, Shanghai Wen and Xin Joint Press Group, China
Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture (CAPDTC)
between April 2006 and December 2007, China sent Liu Hongcai,
Vice-minister of International Department of Central Committee, CPC to
pay a friendly visit to Nepal in November, 2006. He was invited by the
Vice Chairman of the Nepali Congress party Shushil Koirala on behalf of
Nepal's ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA-Maoists not included at that
time).  Liu, significantly enough, was the first key CPC dignitary who
visited Nepal after April 2006 regime change. During the visit Liu
appreciated Nepal's political parties' for putting the interests of
their country and people first, and expressed strong willingness to help
politically transitional Nepal.

Liu's understanding of Nepal necessitated working visit to Nepal by his
senior Wang Jiarui, Minister and Head of the International Department of
Central Committee, CPC in November 2007 at the invitation of the Nepali
Interim Government.  On 28 November while passing through New Delhi on
his way from South Korea to Nepal, Wang Jiarui met with President of the
Indian National Congress and leader of the United Progressive Alliance
Sonia Gandhi. During the meeting Sonia Gandhi expressed her belief that
the friendship between India and China will become a positive factor for
peace and prosperity of this region.  On his part, Wang expressed
willingness to inject new dynamism to the development of China-India
strategic cooperative partnership. In Kathmandu, in meetings with the
Nepali political party leaders (including the Maoists) and important
members of non-governmental sector Wang Jiarui appreciated the support
and understanding from Nepali side on the issues of Tibet and Taiwan,
and assured Nepal that China will uphold its policy of developing
mutually beneficial cooperation with Nepal (Xinhua, 4 December 2007). He
also asked to settle political situation in Nepal at the earliest (The
Kathmandu Post, 1 December 2007).

Through the visits of the Chinese dignitaries, Chinese governance placed
itself to a position whereby it could comprehensively gain understanding
of the intricate nexus between Nepal's political instability and its
bearing on China's frontier territory of Tibet Autonomous Region, which
shares a more than 1400 km border with Nepal. The Chinese visitors might
have duly noted that Nepal's regime change politics fuels religious,
ethnic and territorial divisions and it induces a foreign-motivated
citizenry system where all aliens in the country are provided with
Nepali citizenship certificate at the cost of genuine Nepali citizens in
the Tarai as well as the Hills.

Increased understanding of the ground realities by China's governance
authorities is further reflected in the measure of reforming process of
the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Central Committee of CPC.
  Under this process, last year, Sita, a Tibetan, was promoted to the
position of Vice Minister of the United Front Work Department with the
concurrent responsibility of the newly created Seventh Bureau of the
UFWD which deals with Tibetan affairs. At the beginning of this month,
Du Qinglin, Party secretary of China's south-western Sichuan Province,
has been appointed as the Minister/head of the UFWD.

Sita arrived in Kathmandu for a 5-day Nepal visit on 17 December amidst
news that "people of Tarai want to secede from Nepal" (Hindustan Times,
18 December 2007), "Nepali government and China's Tibet Hongji
Industrial Group sign Syafrubesi-Rasuwagadhi Highway construction
contract" (Xinhua, 17 December, 2007), "India willing to connect oil
pipe line to Nepal" (The Rising Nepal, 20 December, 2007). Sita's
priority public engagement in Kathmandu however was to participate in
China Tibetan Cultural Forum jointly organized by CAPDTC and Arniko
Society. The Forum which received valuable contribution from 21 Nepali,
Chinese and Tibetan analysts, researchers and scholars was the first of
its kind ever organized in Nepal (Dissertations to China Tibetan
Cultural Forum, December 2007).

In a congratulatory message to the Forum Liu Yandong, who was Minister
and Head of UFWD of the Central Committee of CPC till November last and
currently is Honorary President of CAPDTC, commissioner of the
all-powerful organ of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of
CPC as well as Vice Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference, stated the primary purpose of the Forum in the following
words, "As a grand cultural exchange activity between China and Nepal,
this Forum in Nepal is a chance to lead Tibetan culture to the world.
Nepal and China being friendly neighbors since long ago, the forum will
boost cultural exchange and strengthen friendship between each other as
well as promote global cultural pluralism and construct a harmonious
world by showing the excellent Tibetan culture to Nepal and the world".

Selection of Kathmandu as the venue for the launching of the first China
Tibetan Cultural Forum while reaching out the world through Kathmandu
probably only speaks of a basic as well as classic kinship and
geo-political ties Nepal cherishes with the Tibet Autonomous Region. And
Sino-Nepali history in witness, this is Nepali people who deserve to be
recognized as a national minority group in China (The Rising Nepal, 9
November 2004) for their long standing residential contribution to the
Chinese nation including Tibet.

(Dr. Upendra Gautam is General Secretary, China Study Center-Nepal)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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