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Nepal’s home minister cracks down following Chinese envoy interference

TBP Desk
20 Feb 2024 16:09:48 | Update: 20 Feb 2024 17:11:41
Nepal’s home minister cracks down following Chinese envoy interference
— File Photo

Chinese Ambassador to Kathmandu Chen Song’s recent lobbying efforts, to protect his country’s nationals guilty of violation of local laws, has irked Nepal’s Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

Shrestha has directed local authorities to crack down on illegal activities by citizens from the neighbouring country.

Shrestha’s directive came against recent activities by certain Chinese nationals who violated visa norms and Forex regulations, ET has learnt.

Chief Director of China Foundation for Rural Development Zou Zhiqiang - who was involved in Jajarkot earthquake relief work - was deported on January 31 from Nepal due to violation of visa norms, reports the Economic Times.

In another similar incident, a Chinese national Qu Winqian was arrested on February 4 for illegal possession of $25,000 while leaving Nepal, according to Kathmandu based sources.

Qu Winqian was planning to travel to Guangzhou from Kathmandu via China Southern flight but the amount was confiscated. In both cases, Chen intervened and requested Shrestha to stop deportation of the two Chinese citizens.

Shrestha declined Chen Song’s request by citing administrative constraints, according to one of above-mentioned sources. However, Chen was upset with the Nepalese home minister and in a sign of high- handedness met PM Prachanda to lodge a complaint.

This move by the Chinese Ambassador further irked Shrestha, who subsequently ordered concerned authorities last month to prepare new guidelines for Nepal law enforcement authorities to especially focus on the activities of Chinese citizens.

The Nepal Police can now freely conduct raids on Chinese operated businesses, hotels, gambling dens, cyber stations etc., to deter various criminal, fraudulent financial activities and cyber-frauds being conducted by Chinese nationals in Nepal.

The aim is to strongly enforce regulations to deter Chinese illegal activities in Nepal and discourage them from illegitimate business operations in Nepal, sources said.

The Nepal Immigration department has been asked to be more vigilant and monitor Chinese nationals staying illegally in Nepal.

Besides, the local authorities have been asked to ensure that Chinese contractors and workers involved in construction projects in Nepal are in compliance with regulations and the registration process.

It has also been learnt that there will be scrutiny of tax compliance and other regulatory obligations of the Chinese businesses in Nepal.

The Chinese envoy, it has been learnt, is now trying to bypass Nepal’s ministry of home affairs and has approached Prachanda’s foreign policy advisor Rupak Sapkota to safeguard Chinese investments in the Himalayan State.

This is not the first time that a Chinese envoy to Nepal has meddled in internal politics. Earlier, a Chinese envoy played a proactive role to “cement” unity between Communist parties in the Himalayan State.