"An extraordinary sun halo was spotted Friday in the skies over Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, the world's highest peak located in China's Tibet Autonomous Region," said a Twitter post from China Global Television Network (CGTN) on May 2. In effect, the post by China's state-run television network implied complete Chinese sovereignty of Mt Everest.
The only problem is that the world's highest peak straddles both China and Nepal.
More than a week on, the controversial post continues to draw criticism in Nepal. The ire continues unabated, even after CGTN deleted its earlier post and put up a new one, posted at 12:38 PM on May 10.
However, the screenshot of the deleted post has been going viral on social media, with many Nepalese people clubbing it with Beijing having successfully installed a Huawei 5G tower on the summit of the peak. The CGTN's social media post also came in the wake of Beijing sending a team of surveyors to the Himalayan peak to measure its height, even as there is a ban on scaling the summit owing to the coronavirus pandemic. This decision has also not gone down too well with Nepal.
"Chinese measuring Mt Everest without informing Nepal. Even @CGTN media wrote Mt. Everest lies in China. Mt Everest lies in Nepal, not in Tibet," said a social media user, located in Bharatpur, Nepal.
The fact was echoed by another of Nepal's social media user, who stated the same.
Meanwhile, Indian news agency ANI quoted a Chinese expert as stating that Beijing might be trying to consolidate its claims on Tibet and Everest.
"It is not a new thing. China is trying to consolidate its claims on Tibet and Everest," said Srikant Kondapali, Professor of Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). "The Everest on the Tibet side is treacherous and very less used by the Chinese side, there is no trace of tourism from that side, as it is very steep and visa is also an issue," the JNU academic also told the news agency.