Kathmandu (His). Continuous efforts are being made to put pressure on the Nepalese government to lift the ban on China's social media platform TikTok. Ever since the government banned TikTok citing social harmony, China is not only actively lobbying for its withdrawal but is also warning of worsening diplomatic relations.
On November 13, 2023, Nepal's cabinet had banned the Chinese social media app TikTok, citing deterioration in family environment and social harmony. Since then, pressure is being continuously put on the government from various levels to remove this ban. First on December 5, 2023, Firdous Mottakin, TikTok's head of public policy and government relations for South Asia, met the Prime Minister's IT expert Prakash Rayamajhi and officials of the Communications Ministry. Since then, TikTok representatives have been engaged in lobbying with various Nepali agencies in an effort to get the ban lifted.
In the last week of January, a five-member delegation from TikTok engaged in discussions with various Nepali agencies for a week. However, despite his efforts there was no success. The TikTok company is repeatedly appealing to reconsider the ban and is also giving written assurance to address the government's concerns by removing objectionable content.
Apart from TikTok representatives, officials of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu are continuously holding meetings in this regard in Kathmandu to put pressure on the Nepal government. After the return of the five-member team, once again a two-member delegation reached Nepal last week and tried hard to meet Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” but PM Prachanda clearly refused to meet those representatives. However, he met the Communications Minister but to no avail.
Despite all efforts, the Nepali government remains firm on its decision. The Supreme Court on November 21, 2023, dismissed 14 writ petitions challenging the ban, saying the ban had not caused any “irreparable harm”. TikTok has also offered to register in Nepal to comply with Nepali rules, but government officials are skeptical. Information and Communications Minister Rekha Sharma reiterated that the content of TikTok does not follow the standards of the Nepali community, due to which our family values are not only being eroded but it is also having a negative impact on social harmony. The Communications Minister said that the Government of Nepal is committed to maintaining social harmony and cultural values and there will be no compromise in this.
The ban on TikTok has increased diplomatic tensions between Nepal and China. The Chinese government has expressed strong dissatisfaction with this decision. China's Foreign Ministry has termed the Nepal government's ban as “anti-China” and has said that it is being misled by western countries including India and America. The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs has even said that this decision of Nepal is not good for the good diplomatic relations between the two countries. This is a matter of concern for China. Meanwhile, China's Ambassador to Nepal, Chen Sang, has met the Prime Minister and the top leaders of the alliance several times in this regard and is pressurizing them to lift the ban.