Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Mecca’

China’s $3 Billion Investment in Buddhist Mecca Sparks a Row

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 21, 2011

By Jane Poretsis

On the 9th August, China declared that it had just signed a USD 3 billion deal with Nepal to develop Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha, sparking a row of lack of transparency.

The investment will see China leading the project, to transform the small town of Lumbini into a Buddhist Mecca and place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world. A huge building project situated in the Southern region adjoining India. Seeing the construction of a new airport, highway, hotels, convention centre, temples and a Buddhist university; plus, the water, electricity and communication lines it currently lacks.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, in July, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Hong Kong based – Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF), signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) in Beijing.

This was met by concern in certain quarters of the Nepalese Government, which felt that it had been left in the dark and not consulted; prompting a dismissal from China on reports in the media of a secret pact with certain Maoist sections of the Government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another Chinese foundation plans to raise $ 3b to make Lumbini ‘magnet for Buddhists’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2011

Months after plans of a Chinese private sector company to invest Rs 8 billion to develop Lumbini as an International

Buddha Center hogged media headlines there comes news that a Chinese-backed foundation is planning to raise $ 3 billion to help Nepal develop Buddha’s birthplace.

According to Reuters, the Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation plans to raise the aforesaid amount at home and abroad “to build temples, an airport, a highway, hotels, convention centres and a Buddhist university in the town of Lumbini.”

Interestingly, UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is the vice-chairman of the foundation which aims to transform Lord Buddha’s birthplace in southern Nepal “into a magnet for Buddhists in the same way as Mecca is to Muslims and the Vatican for Catholics”, the report adds.

The foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with Nepal government last month to jointly develop and operate Lumbini.

According to the report, the foundation also pledged to bring communications, water and electricity to Lumbini.

“Lumbini will transcend religion, ideology and race. We hope to rejuvenate the spirit of Lord Buddha,” Xiao Wunan, a devout Buddhist who is executive vice president of the foundation, told the news agency.

The development of Lumbini will also help boost government revenues, create jobs and improve infrastructure in the impoverished corner of Nepal, the report cited the memorandum as stating. Read the rest of this entry »

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