When it comes to asserting its claims over territories, China has several ways at its disposal. However, when it comes to Mt Everest, China is using a combination of technology and tourism to strengthen its claim over the world’s tallest peak.
The tallest mountain in the world is accessible by only two sides. Nepal on the southern side and Tibet (China) on the northern side.
For most travellers, the preferred choice of scaling the mountain is from Nepal, since it is easily accessible. This not only generates revenue for the Nepalese government but also helps maintain the status quo vis-a-vis Mt Everest’s location on the world map.
However, Beijing has come up with a clever tactic to alter the status quo and take control of the Mt Everest’s tourism business from Kathmandu.
The Chinese government has realised the importance of the peak and has improved infrastructure and connectivity facilities, enticing more and more travellers to use the Tibetan side of the mountain.
In what is being described as the world’s highest terrestrial 5G base station, Huawei is working with Mobile World to install two 5G towers on the Tibetan side of Mt Everest. Beijing claims that the towers allow internet access to climbers and scientists.
Such a technological advantage would not only give China the ability to attract more travellers and scientific expeditions but also give it the means to snoop in on neighbours India, Nepal and even Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Nepal and China resolved their border dispute in 1961 with the boundary line passing through the summit of Mount Everest. However, since then, the Chinese have grown stronger and according to experts at EurAsian Times, Beijing would try to gain more ground in the future.
Chinese expansionist ambitions were exposed on May 2 as state-run media outlet tweeted a picture of Mt Everest and claimed that it lies in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The tweet was later altered after backlash from netizens in Nepal and India over the false claim.
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese activity on the mountain has not stopped. A Chinese survey team on Wednesday reached Mount Everest through Tibet to remeasure the exact height of the peak while also sending a subtle message to the world on – Mount Chomolungma (the Chinese name of Mt. Everest)