Response to International Human Rights Norms in Asia: Challenges of Ethnic Movements in Nepal and China
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This thesis examines the factors that prevent the Chinese and Nepalese governments from recognizing ethnic minorities’ claims to self-determination within their national jurisdictions. The Tibetans in China and the Madheshis in Nepal have sought the recognition of their self- determination through autonomy. But the Chinese and Nepalese governments consider that autonomy leads to territorial disintegration and hesitate to address this claim. In international norms, the meaning of self-determination has shifted from the right to independence to the right to accommodation; minorities can exercise self-determination through autonomy within the state’s boundaries. This normative development has not lessened the fear of secession among the Chinese and Nepalese political actors. Against this background, this thesis has examined the following question: why do the Chinese and Nepalese governments consider self-determination as potentially leading to secession? It identifies that these two governments associate self- determination with secession due to i) their respective political regimes, ii) the anti-colonial interpretation of self- determination, and iii) foreign intervention in ethnic conflicts. The Chinese government rejects self-determination to defend its centralized political regime whereas the Nepalese government rejects self-determination to strengthen its democratic regime that values individual rights and legal equality. Likewise, both governments interpret self-determination as the right to independence, but this understanding has affected the Nepalese government more than its Chinese counterpart. Finally, foreign intervention has also produced hesitation toward self-determination. Both governments assume that foreign actors are working against their territorial norms, and the external actors’ contradictory response to ethnic conflict provides grounds for this allegation.
Cite this version of the work
Hari Har Jnawali (2023). Response to International Human Rights Norms in Asia: Challenges of Ethnic Movements in Nepal and China. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19594