June 20, 2011


[Nepal is sometimes called a yam between two huge stones. Rightly so, she is sandwiched in between China in the north and India to the south. Both of these Asian giants are emerging economic power houses of the world. These both countries are Nepal's closest friends and neighbours also. Both China and India wish a stable, peaceful and prosperous Nepal. They both have some kind of strategic interest in Nepal. Both of these neighbouring countries have assisted in Nepal's economic development. China has helped Nepal's infrastructural development also. Now,  The Vancouver Sun  from Canada has carried a news that China is "providing funds to Nepal to build a $3-billion "Buddhist Mecca" to attract millions of pilgrims and spiritual tourists to the birthplace of Gautama, Lord Buddha."  But The Himalayan Vice does have suspicion in the reporting or in other words: can it be a true story? If China really wants to fund such a huge amount of money on Nepal, India will instantly oppose, for sure. Once it was up in the air in Kathmandu that China had proposed 'to construct Pokhara - Shurkhet Highway ( 400 Km ?) in the mid-hills, which India  protested showing her security concerns. So, Lumbini, The Vancouver Sun has also imagined to be "Buddhist Mecca", which won't be so by any means, is some 25 kilo-meters north of Indian border. India would again oppose this project, if the The Vancouver Sun report is correct in any case. Similar news  had hit the internet,  November 21, 2010 when Republica,  an English daily from Kathmandu had posted a news  that China would invest Rs. 8 billion in Limbini. - The Blogger]

By Dean Nelson &  Peter Foster,

Lumbini Bodhi Tree
China is providing funds to Nepal to build a $3-billion "Buddhist Mecca" to attract millions of pilgrims and spiritual tourists to the birthplace of Gautama, Lord Buddha.

Lumbini is a UNESCO world heritage site that attracts half a million pilgrims every year from ChinaIndiaJapanSri Lanka and Thailand to its sacred ponds, gardens and temples.

Planners hope to build an airport, hotels, convention centres, new highways, temples and a Buddhist university at the site on Nepal's Western border with India, where Lord Buddha was born about 2,600 years ago.

The scheme is supported by a Chinese government-backed foundation and has brought together an unlikely alliance of Nepali government ministers, Prachanda, the former prime minister and leader of the Maoist insurgency, and Paras, the former crown prince, whose family Prachanda ousted from power. It also has the support of Steven Clark Rockefeller, the heir to the Rockefeller dynasty.

According to Nepali officials devout Buddhists spend more time at the other three main pilgrimage sites in India because Lumbini does not have the infrastructure necessary for longer stays.

Sarnath, in India's Uttar Pradesh, where Buddha first taught "dharma" or natural law; Bodh Gaya in Bihar, where he found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree; and Kushinagar where he found "nirvana" in death, are all drawing increasing numbers of high-spending tourists, and Nepal's government wants to increase its share of the spoils.

China and Nepal signed an agreement earlier this year to develop the site, and the Beijing-based Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation has launched an ambitious campaign to raise the $3 billion required for the site to be transformed into the world's leading Buddhist pilgrimage site.

Prachanda has made a number of fundraising trips to Singapore and Malaysia, and hopes the project will create new jobs in Lumbini, a poor area.

China's involvement in a project close to the border with India has caused discomfort in New Delhi, where the government has traditionally regarded itself as a patron of the Buddhist world through its hosting of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.

© The Vancouver Sun
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kalyan Bhattarai  
Date: Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 2:41 AM
To: The Himalayan Voice
If this is true then it is great news. However, I would suggest the donor countries not to give single penny to the Nepal Government because they will ‘loot’ the money and share among the present political parties .

So the best way is to do all the project works also by the donor countries themselves so as the beneficiaries will be the poor citizens of the country or else present day political leaders will grab the fund and share it among themselves as they are doing the entire development budget now a days also. 


Kalyan Dev Bhattrai,
Kathmandu, Nepal 

A new book explores western involvement in what has become a scourge of the developing world: sex selection of babies.

By Ed Pilkington in New York

Sex selection of babies across the developing world has created many 
societies with too many men. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP
In 1979 China signed a $50m four-year deal with a UN body designed to help it control its spiralling population through family planning. It was the largest foreign aid package Beijing had accepted in almost 20 years.

But the funds became entwined in China's one-child policy that was just taking hold, and instead of sponsoring an education drive for small families, the money was used to pay for posters in Chinese villages proclaiming "You can abort it! But you cannot give birth to it."

The story of the complicity of the UNFPA, the UN's main population agency, in the tyranny of China's forced abortion policy is just one of the examples given in a book that explores western involvement in what has become a modern scourge: sex selection.

Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl charts how the trend towards choosing boys over girls, largely through sex-selective abortions, is rapidly spreading across the developing world.

While the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 boys born for every 100 girls, in India the figure has risen to 112 boys and in China 121. The Chinese city of Lianyungang recorded an astonishing 163 boys per 100 girls in 2007.

The bias towards boys has been estimated to have caused the "disappearance" of 160 million women and girls in Asia alone over the past few decades. The pattern has now spilled over to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, the Balkans and Albania, where the sex ratio is 115/100.

The unnatural skewing towards male populations has become so pronounced in recent decades that Hvistendahl, a writer for Science magazine, says it has given rise to a new "Generation XY". She raises the possibility that with so many surplus men – up to a fifth of men will be single in northwestern India by 2020 – large parts of the world could become like America's wild west, with excess testosterone leading to raised levels of crime and violence.

"Historically, societies in which men substantially outnumber women are not nice places to live," Hvistendahl writes. Already, the relative shortage of women in countries like China and Taiwan has helped create new markets in women.

They include arranged wedding agencies that set up marriages between South Korean men and foreigners, often women from poorer nearby countries like Vietnam, that now account for 11% of all marriages in South Korea.

There is also a booming trade in trafficking of women for prostitution out of Vietnam and a growing practice of child marriage in China, where wealthier families secure wives for their sons early by effectively buying young girls for their sons.

Much of the literature on sex selection has suggested that cultural patterns explain the phenomenon. But Hvisten dahl lays the blame squarely on western governments and businesses that have exported technology and pro-abortion practices without considering the consequences. Amniocentesis and ultrasound scans have had largely positive applications in the west, where they have been used to detect foetal abnormalities. But exported to Asia and eastern Europe they have been intricately linked to an explosion of sex selection and a mushrooming of female abortions.

Hvistendahl claims western governments actively promoted abortion and sex selection in the developing world, encouraging the liberalisation of abortion laws and subsidising sales of ultrasounds as a form of population control.

"It took millions of dollars in funding from US organisations for sex determination and abortion to catch on in the developing world," she writes.

Even now, when the pattern of sex selection has been well documented and the prospect exists of the developing world accommodating tens of millions more men than women, the UNFPA is refusing to face up to its mistakes and confront the problem, she says.

"The effects of the major UN agency tasked with population advocacy distancing itself from the issue of sex selective abortion are immense," she writes, noting that the agency's foot-dragging has discouraged other global funds from engaging with the crisis.