16-22 May 2014 #707

China diary

Baburam Bhattarai, Naya Patrika, 14 May

I recently returned from a family trip to China. My 84-year-old father wanted to make a pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar so we made arrangements to visit China. I was especially interested to learn more about the economic prosperity of Tibet and meet the officials there.

On the first day, I discussed bilateral initiatives with Deputy Minister Guo Yezhou, from the Communist Party of China’s International Bureau. I am thankful to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, the Communist Party of China and the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region for ensuring that our trip was memorable. Although this was a purely family visit, the Chinese officials made it possible to sit for several political meetings in the week long trip.

We were concerned about whether or not my father would be able to cope in the 5,000m altitude on Kailash Mansarovar area but everything went smoothly. After visiting the scared pilgrimage site, I met the chief of Nagri and discussed the possibility of building roads connecting Humla, Hilsa to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet. This would benefit both the countries and make the region more accessible to tourists.

Chinese officials repeatedly raised the issue of how the development and progress Tibet has made is painted in a negative light internationally. After seeing the development in Tibet which has struck a balance between  cultural preservation of places like the Potala Palace and economic progress, I feel this is a valid concern. The development model of Tibet is an excellent one, that can be emulated by all.

Nepali politicians are always slotted as anti India or anti China depending on the country they favour to visit. But I have always opposed such tags and think that Nepal can instead be a bridge to connect two of the biggest economies in the world. After my trip, I feel that there is no stopping China from becoming the economic power house of the world and there is so much Nepal can learn from the development there.

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