China changes Nepal ambassador after Tibet fiasco

November 23rd, 2008 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Nov 23 (IANS) China has replaced its envoy to Nepal, Zheng Xianglin, apparently over his failure to effectively block anti-China protests here that lasted almost five months ahead of the Olympics.Zheng, who assumed office in April 2007, returned home early this month.

This followed dozens of demonstrations in front of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu that drew global attention to Tibetans’ claim of repression in Tibet and the demand for the release of political prisoners.

Though Zheng had urged the Nepal government to take strong punitive measures against the Tibetan demonstrators so that they would be deterred from rejoining the public protests, the government did not comply, partly due to counter-pressure from the US that warned Nepal that it had taken serious note of the use of force on unarmed protesters.

Zheng also failed to persuade the then Girija Prasad Koirala government of Nepal to regulate the 1,800-km open border between Nepal and its southern neighbour India so that the arrival of Tibetans from India to take part in the anti-China protests could be stopped.

Though China, in an unprecedented manoeuvre, succeeded in blocking expeditions to Mt Everest to prevent climbers from planting the Tibetan flag atop the world’s highest mountain, the stratagem received negative publicity in Nepal’s press.

Having completed only half of his three-year tenure, Zheng has been replaced by Qiu Guohong, a former deputy director-general at the Asia department of the Chinese foreign affairs ministry.

The appointment of the new ambassador coincides with the arrival in Kathmandu of an eight-member Chinese military delegation headed by Major-General I Huzeng, who too has urged Nepal’s home and defence ministries to regulate the India-Nepal border.

Qiu, who presented his credentials to the Nepal president Friday, has already kicked up a controversy by meeting the home and defence ministers even before presenting his credentials to the head of state.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |