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Sino-Nepal relation hit after murder of Chinese woman in Tibet

July 1, 2019

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Sino-Nepal relation hit after murder of Chinese woman in Tibet

China has expelled 2,500 Nepali workers from Tibet after a Chinese woman was found murdered in the region China claims as its own.

Chinese officials arrested a Nepali citizen on the charges of murdering the woman. The incident took place in Taklakot, a small town in Tibet on the way to Kailash and Mansarovar,

Tej Bahadur Fadera of Humla district in Nepal was arrested by Tibetan police in the last week of May. According to the district administrative office of Humla, Fadera has been taken to Lhasa for further inquiry. The Chinese woman, whose identity is not revealed by Chinese officials, was a worker in a local hotel. She was on her way to a bank when she was killed with an iron rod, according to the information provided by Chinese officials to district administrative office of Humla, Nepal.

After his arrest, Chinese officials started to seize border pass of Nepali workers without any prior notice to Nepal government from May 31. In two weeks since then, they sent back 2,500 Nepali workers from Taklakot.

Livelihood affected

People from the border districts of both the countries can travel up to 30 kilometres across the border without a visa, according to the Nepal-China Agreement of 1974. By using this provision, around 7,000 people from Humla travel to Tibet in search of work and business, according to the district administrative office of Humla. As the season of Mansarovar pilgrimage starts in June, more than 20,000 pilgrims—mostly from India—travel to Kailash and Mansarovar. It creates an opportunity for work and business. People from Humla work there in hotels and construction sites and earn up to 5,000 Nepali rupees per day.

Govinda Badaur Karki, Nepal’s Consulate General for Lhasa, discussed the issue of China expelling Nepali workers with representatives of the Chinese government in Lhasa. According to Mahesh Kumar Pokhrel, Assistant Chief District Officer (CDO) of Humla, they have solved the problem at government level. The Chinese have agreed to provide work if the employer is ready to take responsibility for the worker.

Chinese officials have stopped seizing border passes

While the government stated that the situation has improved, residents claimed the situation in Taklakot hasn’t changed. Pokhrel seconded such claims. “The problem is solved at the government level and it may take some time to be implemented. Still, it will be difficult for Nepali citizens to get work because there is a condition that employers should be ready to take his/her responsibility,” he added.

Bishnu Lama, the Chief of Namkha Rural Municipality in Humla, said Nepali workers are not getting any job in Taklakot anymore. “Chinese officials have stopped seizing border passes, and our citizens can travel easily now. But the problem is our people are not getting any work there,” he stated.

Locals of Taklakot hesitate to employ Nepali workers because of the condition, which may cause problems to the lower-class Nepali workers, who depend on the income from work in Taklakot.

Issue sorted: Foreign ministry

When Chinese officials started to confiscate the border passes of Nepali workers in the last week of May, the district administrative office tried to discuss and solve the problem at the local level. They wrote to the Chinese side for dialogue and discussion but did not get a response. Nepali officials informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu that the DAO tried to solve the issue at the local level. Then, the Consulate General took the initiative to bring the matter up with Chinese officials in Lhasa.

The foreign ministry of Nepal maintains that the problem stands resolved. Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi said, “We talked to the Chinese officials in Kathmandu and Lhasa, and the issue has been solved already. No problems have been informed to us recently.”

Ji Guanglli, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy, told the Kathmandu Post they do not have any information about the alleged murder and are checking the facts with their officials in Tibet.

Local officials of both the countries used to organise discussions on border management every year and the event was scheduled for July 30 this year. But the event is now uncertain. Pokhrel said they had sent their invitation, but the Chinese officials have not answered yet.

Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, considered as one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, is located in western Tibet, near Nepal border. Mansarovar is 100 kilometres from Taklakot.