Nepal Rejects Ambitious Chinese Buddhist Venture

The Nepalese government has announced that it “will not entertain” a proposed $3 billion redevelopment of the Buddha’s birthplace by Hong Kong-based NGO, the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation. From The Times of India:

Less than a fortnight after a Chinese nongovernmental organisation announced its plan for what amounted to a virtual takeover of Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal, Nepal’s government on Thursday unceremoniously rejected it, saying it would not entertain any deal struck in a third country without the participation of the actual stakeholders.

“Nepal is the actual stakeholder,” said Modraj Dottel, spokesperson of Nepal’s culture ministry that governs Lumbini, the town in southern Nepal that is the destination of thousands of pilgrims and Buddhist scholars worldwide, and a Unesco-declared World Heritage Site. “How can we own a deal struck in a third country without the formal consent of the actual stakeholder?” […]

Since the announcement of the MoU, the Foundation has been under media glare in Nepal, which has been less than flattering. The Nepali media has specially highlighted the fact that the Foundation’s members include Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and his bete noir, ousted crown prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah.


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