April 27, 2006

China distances itself from Nepal’s Maoist rebels

BEIJING (Reuters) - China distanced itself from Nepal's
self-styled Maoist rebels on Thursday, saying the group had no
connection with any Chinese person or group.

China has refused to identify with or provide help to
Nepal's Maoists, who take their inspiration and name from late
Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, having long ago abandoned
ambitions to export its revolution. "They call themselves
Maoists, but they have nothing to do with any organization or
person domestically in China," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin
Gang told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

"We uphold the principle of not interfering in other
countries' affairs," he said. "We hope that our friendly
neighbor Nepal can develop stably and harmoniously."

The Maoists want to topple the monarchy and set up a
single-party communist republic in the impoverished Himalayan
nation. More than 13,000 people have died in the conflict since
it started in 1996.

The rebels declared a three-month ceasefire from Thursday
and political parties forming a new government promised to work
with them, dramatically raising hopes of an end to the
decade-old conflict.

The truce came after sweeping anti-monarchy protests by
hundreds of thousands of people that eventually prompted King
Gyanendra to reconvene the country's dissolved parliament.