China’s influence in Nepal is growing: G Wells

KATHMANDU, Oct 24: Acting Assistant Secretary of the United States for the South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice G Wells, has said the influence of China in Nepal is growing.

“The decision to criminalize the forced conversion by the new criminal code enacted in 2018 puts members of religious minority groups a risk,” Wells said while briefing to the House of Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Asia and Pacific on Wednesday.

“While Nepal’s constitution has safeguarded freedom of belief and religious independence, the implementation is weak.

“The government has also increased restrictions on the Tibetan Buddhist community, including preventing the public celebration of the Dalai Lama’s birthday. As Chinese influence has grown in Nepal, so has the Government of Nepal’s restrictions on the Tibetan community,” she added.

The Government of Nepal banned the 84th birthday celebration of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, Lhamo Thondup (14th Dalai Lama) who has been taking refuge in Dharmashala of India, in Nepal as its commitment to One-China policy.

Thousands of Tibetan refugees had been celebrating the birthday organizing several events in the valley annually.

Wells also said the medial law in Nepal was contrary to the principles of press freedom and democracy.