There is no doubt that the development of the Tibet autonomous region bears a direct influence on Nepal’s domestic situation and foreign affairs. Nepal shares a 1,400-kilometer border with the autonomous region and the development and stability of Tibet is an important theme in relations between Nepal and China.
In recent years, Nepal has suffered heavily from the political turbulence and thus it hopes all the more to see economic prosperity and social harmony and stability in China’s Tibet. This serves as a necessary external precondition for Nepal’s own development.
Nepal has made the commitment that it will not allow any anti-China activities within its territory. People may not realize that the harmony and stability of the autonomous region are of crucial importance to Nepal, as any turbulence can rapidly extend across the Himalayas to Nepal, while Tibet’s stability and development will surely benefit Nepal.
This decides Nepal’s long-cherished stance on issues related with Tibet and it has worked hard to develop and maintain friendly ties with the autonomous region and on the basis of this maintain mutual trust with the rest of China.
Nepal has long connections with Tibet. As early as 1768, when the Nepalese king united the nation, Kathmandu was already linked to Lhasa by a trade route.
Since then, both sides have maintained frequent personnel exchanges and their cultures and religions have continually influenced each other. Via this channel, Nepal has also established close links with the rest of China.
However, Western countries have long been intent on intervening in Tibet, and it is an important geopolitical topic in the international arena.
On Feb 19, Zhu Weiqun, director of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, released an article analyzing why Western countries try to make trouble for China over Tibet.
He said China’s fast development since the launch of its reform and opening-up policy has caught the West in a dilemma. On the one hand, countries are trying to benefit by improving their relations with China. On the other hand, they fear and worry that China will break the long-standing Western-dominated international rules and pattern of interests.
The article, which contains his dialogues with important political figures and scholars from various countries, including his sharp argument with European Union officials in Brussels in 2012, called on the international community to take history as a mirror.
“How many foreigners take into consideration China’s 100 years of humiliation, when China was the victim of the barbaric aggression by imperialist powers and its sovereignty broke apart. Chinese people will never let that humiliation be repeated,” he wrote.
Regrettably, some international media look at China’s modernization drive from an out-of-date perspective. Developing the economy is an important way to ensure the basic rights of all ethnic groups in Tibet.
As Zhu said in Brussels, in response to criticism of China’s human rights protection in Tibet: “The Chinese government cares for the human rights of Chinese people, including Tibetans, more than any other country does.”
Zhu has been engaged in the complicated affairs of Tibet since 1998, and has worked hard to give the international community a true picture of Tibet, showing that its development is the result of its social and historical environment and that Tibetans are now masters of their own fate.
When I had a dinner with him recently he extended his thanks to Nepal for the support it has given China on issues related with Tibet, as Nepal has never taken the moral high ground and pointed a finger of blame on issues related with Tibet for selfish political purposes. Neither has it turned a blind eye to historical facts in order to challenge China’s sovereignty over Tibet.
The author is director of the Nepal Institute of International Studies.
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