The Lumbini Connection
That deal to take over Buddhism down in Lumbini must really be a hot potato. The Chinese not only will not give up on the deal but they are sending 50 "representatives" to Kathmandu to try and change minds at Singha Durbar. Typical Chinese move: make a big show of force when you don't get your way and try and bully everyone until they give in.
Nepal held the line about not letting the Chinese take over Lumbini and turn it into a Communist theme park. The truth is, our politicians were miffed at not being let in on the big cash pay-day so they rejected the deal. Corruption as a force for national unity, who would have thought!
It's laughable that the Chinese first went to two of the most bribe-taking-for-sale-to-the-highest bidder types in Nepal to get their foot in the door: Paras and Prachanda, the "Pee Pee twins," both of whom have visited Beijing so many times that they makes ol' Girija's frequent past trips to Delhi look like a once in a lifetime pilgrimage. The Pee Pee's took the money and ran. The Chinese overestimated their effectiveness. Somewhere Sujata is screaming: "hey, why didn't you guys call me?"
It's creepy how China tried to do the whole deal through the shadowy Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation. (APEC). Foundation Chairman Eric Tay is a steely-eyed Hong Kong businessman who just happens to have big expertise at defense system and radar listening equipment procurement.
No wonder the Chinese are sending 50 of their best and brightest bullys to Kathmandu, we wrecked their big shot at setting up a spy center and they're trying like mad to salvage the deal and not get exposed!
It's an outrage that a branch of the UN may be in collusion with Chinese efforts.
Kandeh K. Yumkella, the current director of the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) seems to be supportive of APEC efforts in Lumbini. What gives? Aside from being a native of Sierra Leone and probably tired of the fact that our cricket team routinely kicks the shit out of his country's squad, Mr. Yumkella is also a member of the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) which consists of senior Chinese officials and international experts and advises top Chinese Government officials on development issues.Oops. Could it be that Director Yumkella is on China's Lumbini payroll?
It's strangely curious that one Mr. Graham Wrigley, a member of the Himalayan Trust, UK branch, seems to be hovering around the sidelines. He and Mr. Yumkella both spoke at a Sierra Leone trade and investment forum in 2009
His current focus is on sustainable private sector growth in poor countries. He is Chairman of Aureos (the largest small to medium enterprise (SME) investor in low income countries with $1.1bn under management and 29 offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America) and he sits on the Board of Manocap (a private equity fund based in Sierra Leone). In addition he is working in the Microfinance field in India and Nepal
So it looks like we can add a Sierra Leone connection to the mix.
blogdai can't tell where all of this is going right now but my big guess will be the following:
1. The Chinese will agree to help fund the Nepali version of a Lumbini restoration scheme and agree to it's limitations for the moment.
2. China will throw a lot of money around Singha Durbar and Lumbini and eventually wind up building something similar to what it had originally proposed; spy center and all.
3. The Nepali people will lose one of it's world treasures to the forces of money and political arrogance.
----------------------------------------------Update: August 9, 2011
IBN News has just reported that the Chinese have now officially signed the Lumbini deal. As predicted , they've somehow given in to the original Nepali design, but are planning an international airport as well. We lose.