By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 14: A 19-member fact finding team of politicians and officials who visited the border region of Limi region in Nepal’s Humla district on Oct. 5 confirmed Chinese encroachment with structures such as concrete buildings and reconstructed border pillar constructed without seeking permission from the Nepalese government. Last month, China’s encroachment on Nepalese territory resulted in protests in front of the Chinese embassy.
Outrage by locals and opposition parties over reports of border encroachment led to formation of the fact-finding mission as well as protests in front of the Chinese embassy on Sept. 28. Social media videos showed protestors chanting slogans such as “Return Nepal’s land” and “Stop Chinese expansionism!” as they demanded China vacate Nepal’s territory immediately.
A statement issued by the spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu remarked that the buildings “have been verified to be on the Chinese side of the China-Nepal border”. It asked the Nepali side to make the verification again, and claimed that the two countries are “friendly neighbours”. It further added that “[China] has always respected Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Nepalese lawmaker Jeevan Bahadur Shahi who is part the fact-finding group said that the replacement of the boundary pillar has moved a large chunk of Nepali territory into China, “A team of experts should visit the Nepal-China border in Humla district to make a scientific assessment of what China has done. Our findings have clearly shown that China has entered into one and half kilometers inside our territory after replacing the boundary pillar.”
The opposition leader also claimed that a huge Chinese force was deployed across the Nepal-China border during the visit by the Nepalese delegation. The ruling Oli government which has been accused of being pro-Chinese denied all allegations of encroachment. The concerned parties have urged the government to acknowledge the illegal Chinese occupation and confront the border dispute as soon as possible.