Over the past few months, the relationship between neighbours Nepal and India have become sour and experts say that it is a result of China's increasing political influence in the country. China has achieved so by investing in Nepal, targeting tourism, post-earthquake reconstruction, trade and energy.
Last month, Nepal’s Parliament cleared a Constitution Amendment Bill that endorsed the country’s new map that includes territories with India — Limpiadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani. Earlier, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had said that those areas would be brought within Nepal’s map and possession.
On Thursday, Nepal stopped the transmission of all Indian private news channels except Doordarshan, accusing them of airing reports hurting the country's national sentiment. The development comes after some Indian channels aired reports critical of Oli and his government.
Meanwhile, a few Indian TV news channels and Army veterans have claimed that the reason for the rift between the two countries is China's ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi.
News channel Zee Hindustan in a "special report" titled 'Oli ki Ishqiya', the anchor claimed that Nepal's 'old' PM KP Sharma Oli fell in love at this age. She further said that Oli was "honey-trapped by Chinese ambassador" in Kathmandu.
Rtd. Major General GD Bakshi, who recently took social media by storm for saying 'M*******!!' on live TV said, "Meet the new Viceroy of Nepal -Her highness- the Chinese ambassador Yanqi. She has just decreed that all Indian News channels will be banned in Nepal . Nepal is Fast going the way of Tibet. Time for the people of Nepal to wake up and get rid of this Chausescu of Nepal- shiri Oli (sic)."
Earlier, Rtd Major Gaurav Arya claimed that Oli has been "honey-trapped by Chinese embassy" in Kathmandu. He added that China has "videos" as well. Taking to Twitter, Arya posted a picture of Hou Yanqi and stated that Oli is controlled by her. "Word on the streets of Kathmandu is that Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli has a glad eye & has been honey trapped by Chinese embassy in Kathmandu.
That’s why when China gobbles up Nepali villages, Oli says nothing. Sources say that the Chinese embassy has videos," he wrote. However, he later clarified that he did not say that the Ambassador personally honey trapped Oli but the Chinese.
With all these speculations doing the rounds, let us understand who is China's Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi:
Born in China's Shanxi Province in March 1970, Hou Yanqi is a Master of Arts. Rising through the ranks, Hou Yanqi has served as the Director of the Department of External Security Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Counselor of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry Foreign Affairs and Deputy Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2018, she was appointed as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Nepal.
Hou Yanqi's popularity is soaring in Nepal and she has become successful in "charming" them. Jyoti Malhotra's opinion piece in The Print reads, "Hou Yanqi’s soaring popularity is the talk of town these days. A key part of her job, of course, is to wean Nepal away from its civilisational embrace of India and offer the charms of Beijing, instead of the all-too-familiar tramping grounds like Delhi and Banaras. By all accounts, she is succeeding rather well."
Earlier this year, at an event organised at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Hou Yanqi was seen in a lehenga-choli and danced to a popular Nepalese song, "If only I could fly like a bird under the wide open sky!"