Kathmandu: At a time when the government is said to be tilting toward the southern neighbor and facing the accusation of not doing much to bring in vaccines and life-saving oxygen from China, a group of civil society leaders has urged China–the northern neighbor–to support Nepal with additional vaccines, as the country has literally failed to provide treatment to rising number of Covid patients.
What is in the appeal?
Signed by a total of 83 civil society leaders and activists, the appeal presents the grim picture of Nepal’s health system and requests China ‘to extend…whole-hearted assistance to urgently respond to Nepal’s grave health and humanitarian situation’.
“We [83 leaders and activists] would like to appeal to the Chinese government to support Nepal with additional vaccines so as to curb unnecessary loss of human life as a result of lack of access to vaccines,” reads the appeal to China.
“While diplomatic relations between Nepal and People’s Republic of China date back to 1955, human relationships have lasted much longer and continue to be strong. It is during these unprecedented times, on behalf of the citizens of Nepal, we would like to appeal–once again–to the government and people of the People’s Republic of China to extend your whole-hearted assistance to urgently respond to Nepal’s grave health and humanitarian situation,” the appeal reads.
Why does it matter?
The appeal from the civil society group came at a time when the KP Oli government is being criticized for not initiating diplomatic dialogue with neighboring countries to save lives of people. Media report on Thursday revealed that Health Minister Hridayesh Tripathi is reluctant to bring vaccines from China.
Besides, the government has not initiated any meaningful dialogue with China to bring other life saving health equipment despite the reality that China is one of the largest exporters of health equipment across the country.
This call signifies that the civil society is coming forward to save the lives of Nepali people and also indirectly exert pressure on the government to maintain delicate balance in terms of foreign policy, an analyst told Nepal Live Today.
The appeal from the civil society group came at a time when the KP Oli government is being criticized for not initiating diplomatic dialogue with neighboring countries to save lives of people.
Will China respond?
K P Oli is believed to be an instrument in deepening Nepal’s engagement with China in recent times. Of late, analysts argue, his relationship with China has deteriorated.
It is blamed that the Oli government has misused Nepal’s foreign policy to gain and sustain his power and not for the people. Former Chief Secretary and Ambassador of Nepal to China Leela Mani Paudyal sees the government’s reluctance to have an open and transparent dialogue with China as a major problem to secure assistance from China.
Many people in Kathmandu are asking: What is holding Nepal back from ensuring support from China?
The government of China has already provided 800,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal. Likewise, China has expressed the commitment to send 20,000 oxygen cylinders to Nepal as the country has been hit hard by the lack of resources to battle the second wave. Many believe that the willpower of the KP Oli government and its proactiveness in ensuring the safety of people will determine the future course of assistance from the northern neighbor.
Full text of the appeal
Covid-19 cases in Nepal have increased by 1200 percent in the last few weeks. The positivity rate of tests conducted stands consistently over fifty percent. The country’s health infrastructure has been pushed to the brink with health professionals and frontline workers stretched thin across the country. We are witnessing the fastest spread of Covid-19 globally and the coming months are certain to be an uphill battle. In this context, it is becoming increasingly clear that Nepal will require the help of our neighbors to mitigate the unfolding humanitarian disaster.
China is not only a neighbor but a good friend to Nepal, a relationship attested particularly in times of crisis. The unwavering support China provided when Nepal was at its most vulnerable, in the aftermath of the earthquakes in 2015 and the blockade that followed, remains fresh in the hearts and minds of all Nepalis. Our gratitude for this support knows no bounds.
While diplomatic relations between Nepal and People’s Republic of China date back to 1955, human relationships have lasted much longer and continue to be strong. It is during these unprecedented times, on behalf of the citizens of Nepal, we would like to appeal – once again — to the government and people of the People’s Republic of China to extend your whole-hearted assistance to urgently respond to Nepal’s grave health and humanitarian situation:
- It is well established that vaccination is the only solution to this pandemic. With only 1 percent of the population fully vaccinated, Nepal is in a precarious position. As we write this, the Government of Nepal has scheduled the second dose inoculation for those who received the first dose of the VeroCell vaccine – numbering some 800,000 in total — that were donated by China. While this has offered a glimpse of hope for some, it is simply not enough. We would like to appeal to the Chinese government to support Nepal with additional vaccines so as to curb unnecessary loss of human life as a result of lack of access to vaccines.
- An acute shortage of oxygen has impacted the ability of our health institutions to offer their services. The GoN says we immediately need some 50,000 cylinders of oxygen to ride out this wave. China’s offer of 20,000 cylinders and other medical essentials has already exhibited your kind willingness to support and we request the extension of this support with swift transport and further oxygen plant, oxygen concentrators and any other assistance to aid the oxygen supply in the country.
- Basic necessities to combat the virus are growing scarce as the number of infected continue to grow. In this context, we would like to appeal for your assistance with PPE and testing kits, masks and other medical equipment that can help our health care workers safely provide the basic necessary services to the affected.
- As the first country to successfully bring this deadly virus under control, your experience and resources have been crucial. As such, we would appreciate any emergency medical team support that you can extend to Nepal to assist our Nepali frontline workers on the ground in this fight against the pandemic.
We are left with no option but to lay our hopes on the kind support of our neighbors and friends at this crucial junction. We would thus humbly request her excellency Ambassador Hou Yanqi to convey our appeal and expedite any and all support to Nepal from the People’s Republic of China.
On behalf of the general public
1. Prof. Dr. Hemraj Pant, Educationist
2. Jagannath Lamichhane, Activist
3. Prem Sapkota, Activist
4. Manomohan Swar, Journalist, Kailali
5. Senior Advocate Ramesh Deb Bhatt, Kanchanpur
6. Basanti Chaudhary, Rights Activist, Kailali
7. Advocate Ajay Shankar Jha “Rupesh”, Executive Director, PDS-Nepal
8. Pradip Pariyar, Executive Director, Samata Foundation.
9. Khagendra Lamichhane, Writer / Actor
10. Bhakta Biswakarma, Acting President, Dalit NGO Federation (DNF)
11. Suman Adhikari, Executive Director, National Federation of Deaf,Nepal
12. Deep Jyoti Shrestha, Youth Activist
13. Rem Bk. Executive Director, Jagaran Media Center
14. Yamlal Lohoni, President, Rupendehi Trade Association
15. Janaki Ghimire Aryal, Lumbini State President, Single Women’s Group for Human Rights
16. Jog Bahadur Khatri, Chairman High Court Bar, Butwal
17. Sikendra Paswan, Rights Activist, Bara
18. Fulmohammad Miya, Activists, Parsa
19. Rajesh Karn, Journalist, Janakpurdham
20. Sharda Chand, Social Activist, Kanchanpur
21. Ramesh Rai, Social Activist, Ilam
22. Chakraraj Dahal, Associate Professor, Mahendra Multiple Campus, Dharan
23. Govindaraj Gautam, Vice President, National Consumer Forum, Baglung
24. Tuk Bahadur Thapa, Advocate, Kapilbastu District Bar Unit, Taulihawa
25. Bishnu Baral, Coordinator, Civil Society Network for Peace, Gandaki Province.
26. Girdhari Subedi, Sayapatri Samaj, Pokhara
27. Than Bahadur Chhetri, Associate Professor, Tribhuvan University
28. Nir Shrestha, Disability Rights Activist
29. Lokendra Sitaula, Associate Professor, Tehrathum Multiple Campus, Tehrathum
30. Dr. Arjun Aayadi, Associate Professor, Midwestern University, Surkhet
31. Amrit Kumar Bhandari, Syangja
32. Shubh Kayastha, Civic Activist, Bhaktapur
33. Rukmani Maharjan, Advocate, Kathmandu
34. Dr. Buddha Bahadur Thapa, Chairman, Nepal Professors Association Central Committee
35. Bhavani Prasad Pandey, Central Committee Members FNJ
36.Gunja Rai, Women’s Rights Activist, Janakpur
37. Kailash Dash, State President, Nepal National Dalit Journalists Association, Janakpur
38. Jayakant Goit, Former Teacher, Saptari
39. Bhola Paswan, Rights Activist, Saptari
40. Swagat Raj Pandey, Civic Activist, Kathmandu
41. Samson Karki, Filmmaker
42. Pravin KC, student
43. Deepak Acharya, Businessman
44. Som Niraula, Human Rights Activist, Kathmandu
45. Shivnath Yadav, Youth Activist, Birganj
46. Dawa Lhamu Sherpa, Young Mental Health Activist
47. Suraj Ray, Student / Activist
48. Richa Palikhe, Activist / Businessman
49. Annie, Activist
50. Saugat Wagle, Disability Rights Activist
51. Umid Bagchand, Journalist, Kailali
52. Ananda Mishra, Environment Activist
53. Dr. Prakash Bhattarai, Executive Director, Center for Social Change (CSC)
54. Shehnaz Banu, Civic Activist, Kathmandu
55. Advocate Indu Tuladhar, Executive Chair, Himal Innovative Development and Research Pvt. Ltd. (HIDR)
56. Sushma Barali, Journalist
57. Sangam Sherpa, Businessman
58. Govind Pariyar, Journalist
59. Basanta Chippa, Activist
60. Bhuvan KC, Businessman
61. Advocate Krishna Prasad Timilsina, Pokhara
62. Neetu Pokharel, Women Rights Activist
63. Kiran Kausal, journalist, palpa
64. Romas Khatiwada, Activist
65. Nabin Silwal, Activist
66. Samar Chhetri, lecturer, Dept. Of Population Studies.
67. Pramila Tajhya, Women Activist, Pokhara.
68. Prakash Shrestha, Activist
69. Basanta Joshi, Activist
70. Asmita Dangi, Activist
71. Nisu KC, Activist
72. Nirajan Paudel, Activist
73. Tusar Neupane, Activist
74. Bijaya Rai Shrestha, Executive Director, AMKAS Nepal
75. Advocate Anita Thapaliya, Executive Chairperson, LAAC Nepal
76. Keshab Badi (Nepali), Chairman, National Badi Network, Nepalgunj Banke
77. Jitram Lama, President, NGO Federation Nepal
78. Arjun Bhattarai, Coordinator, NSDF
79. Purushottam Bista, NEDI
80. Bhuwan KC, Activist
81. Itisha Giri, Writer / Podcaster, Kathmandu
82. Avasna Pandey, Journalist
83. Amuda Mishra, Human Rights Activist