Beijing’s Finger in Nepal’s Maoist Revolt

The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, beloved of mountaineers and backpacking trekkers, is in the grip of an intense government crisis precipitated by a long-running, bloody Maoist insurgency.
Both crises climaxed in May 2002.
Tuesday, May 28, government forces claim to have routed a major rebel assault on an army garrison in the remote, rebel-controlled western Rukum district, killing 150 Maoist guerrillas. The government lost five soldiers in the battle. The insurgents were armed with rocket launchers and automatic weapons they said they had looted from the army.
Earlier this month, some 200 rebels and 70 government security men were killed in Gam in the Rolpa district, the birthplace of the Maoist movement. Then too, thousands of rebels stormed a government security post.
Since November when peace talks broke down, the violence has escalated constantly, prompting the imposition of emergency rule, as an estimated 10,000 insurgents battle a combined military and police force of 90,000 troops.
The extension of emergency rule this week pitched Nepal into political turmoil.
When parliament balked at prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s request to approve a three-month extension, he dissolved the House and called elections for November 13, two years ahead of schedule. King Gyanendra signed the emergency measure and Deuba became head of a caretaker administration, only to find himself expelled from the ruling Nepali Congress party, the victim of political infighting.
debkafile‘s Chinese experts report:The Maoist insurgency in Nepal may be one of the last surviving operations of a little known Chinese intelligence organ known as the Ministry of Foreign Liaison, a body the Chinese communist party set up in Mao Tse Tung’s day for the export of revolution through covert operations and the political indoctrination of indigenous cadres.
This “Ministry” recruited and supported mostly Third World extremist Maoist groups, such as those in Nepal and Burma (Myanmar), the New People’s Army of the Philippines, the notorious Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Japanese Red Army, and the Shining Path movement in Peru. Not all those revolutionary movements survived. One that did is the Nepalese Maoist Communist Party, which for six years has held this poor HimalayanKingdom to siege at the cost of 4,000 lives, some 1,000 casualties occurring within the past five months of this year alone.
China regards Nepal as a lost territory. Since it became independent in 1898, both China and India have been strategically interested in the tiny kingdom, both as a buffer and a vassal state.
Hence, Chinese intelligence infiltration operations into Nepal, that began decades ago, set off a self-perpetuating Maoist “people’s war” that has never really ended.
It would be in China’s interests to install a regime in Kathmandu that is not too friendly with the US or India. To sustain their long rebellion, the Maoist insurgents must be receiving substantial secret support and weapons from Beijing, although they claim they are fighting solely with
arms captured from Nepalese government forces.
While supposedly a multi-party democracy, Nepal is ruled by a dictatorial monarchy and military (in June 2001, most of the royal family, including the king and queen, were murdered by a drunken and suicidal crown prince, whose uncle now reigns as king amid accusations of conspiracy). The world’s last feudal-like Hindu kingdom, the king is supported by a small aristocratic caste of land and business owners, and corrupt government officials. The vast majority of the 25-million population is little more than poor serfs.
The Nepalese Maoist Communist Party, led by Chairman of Pushpan Kamal Dahal (alias Comrade Prachanda, or “the Awesome One”) while united under the Maoist banner, is in fact a hodgepodge of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and even Joseph Stalin devotees. They aspire to establish a people’s republic to replace the current monarchy. Government, military and police facilities, and key national infrastructure elements such as airports, telecommunications, water supplies, hydroelectric stations, and the Nepal Oil Corporation are frequent rebel targets.
Before the current government successes, the Maoists controlled a quarter of the kingdom’s area, in which they collected taxes, and administered healthcare and education services.
Earlier this month, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba went to Washington and London on a quest for military assistance, as part of the new “global war on terrorism”.
His want list was topped by helicopter night-vision systems, portable missile launchers, and automatic assault weapons, as well as related technical training. The United States offered Nepal US$20 million in military support, and American military advisors are reportedly now assisting counterinsurgency efforts. India has also offered military assistance. Their presence in Nepal may well prompt China to step up its aid to the insurgents.

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