Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to Nepal triggered strong reactions in political circles and spilled onto social media after a video surfaced showing the senior Congress leader attending an event at a nightclub with a few others. Some social media users shared the viral video identifying the woman seen with Gandhi as Hou Yanqi, China’s Ambassador to Nepal. Newschecker found the claim to be false.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra was among several Twitter users who shared the video claiming that the woman seen with Gandhi was China’s Ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi.
YSRCP leader Vijayasai Reddy V tweeted that the video of Gandhi “partying in a Nepal night club with Chinese diplomats is disturbing as China’s honey traps are rising.”
In the light of renewed interest in the profile and background of the Chinese diplomat, news outlet India TV published a report titled ‘Who is Hou Yanqi, the woman partying with Rahul Gandhi in viral video | Details’, assuming the lady to indeed be Hou.
BJP Reacts To Gandhi’s Video
The video showing Gandhi at a club in Nepal blew up on social media on Tuesday with BJP’s Amit Malviya writing, “Rahul Gandhi was at a nightclub when Mumbai was under siege. He is at a nightclub at a time when his party is exploding. He is consistent. Interestingly, soon after the Congress refused to outsource their presidency, hit jobs have begun on their Prime Ministerial candidate…”
BJP National Secretary Y. Satya Kumar tweeted, “Life of Royal scions. Work hard (in defeating the Congress party), and then Party even Harder” The whole tweet can be seen below.
To investigate if Rahul Gandhi was at a Nepal nightclub with a Chinese diplomat, we first conducted a keyword search for the words ‘Rahul Gandhi’ ‘Nepal’ and found multiple reports on the same. A Hindustan Times report dated May 4, 2022, states that Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala clarified that Gandhi was in Nepal to attend the wedding of a friend.
“Last I checked, having a family in this country and having friends, attending marriage and engagement ceremonies is a matter of our culture and civilisation. It has still not become a crime in this country to be married, to be friends with someone, or to attend their marriage celebration,” he said. “Rahul Gandhi has not gone to Pakistan as an uninvited guest like PM Modi did to cut a cake with Nawaz Sharif. We all know what happened in Pathankot soon after that meeting,” added Surjewala.
Further, we came across a report by Nepal’s news outlet Kathmandu Post dated May 2, 2022, titled ‘Rahul Gandhi in town to attend a wedding’, which corroborated Surjewala’s statement. The report stated that Gandhi is in Kathmandu to attend the wedding of his Nepali friend Sumnima Udas. “We had extended an invitation to Gandhi to attend the wedding of my daughter,” the article quoted Bhim Udas, Sumnima’s father who also served as a Nepali Ambassador to Myanmar.
Notably, Sumnima Udas is a former CNN correspondent.
We continued our investigation and found a report by Zee News that identified the club as ‘Lord of the Drinks’. A keyword search on Facebook led us to a post by user Bhupen Kunwar, who shared videos of Rahul Gandhi in the pub.
Newschecker Nepal reached out to Sahadev Sedhai, fund manager at Lord of the Drinks, Kathmandu, who stated that “all those who accompanied Rahul Gandhi at LOD that night were Nepali”.
Newschecker probed further and reached out to the family of the bride, Sumnima Udas. Refuting allegations that the lady in the viral video is Chinese, Bhim Udas, the bride’s father and the former Nepal ambassador to Myanmar said that “there was not a single Chinese national at the wedding.” When probed further, he revealed that the young woman was Sumnima’s friend and a “former journalist who currently looks after her own business”.
Furthermore, Newschecker spoke to Samyak Udas, the brother of the bride Sumnima Udas, who clarified that the young woman seen in the viral video is from Hong Kong. “The lady seen with Rahul Gandhi is not the Chinese ambassador (to Nepal) or a Chinese diplomat. She’s a friend of the bride from her days in Hong Kong,” Udas said. Newschecker also learned from sources close to the family that the young woman was a former CNN journalist and currently works as a scriptwriter.
The viral claim that Rahul Gandhi was partying with the Chinese ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi is untrue. The lady in the photograph is not Hou Yanqi, she is a former CNN journalist.
Result: Misleading Content/Partly False
Direct Contact With Bhim K Udas, Samyak Udas, and Sahadev Sedhai
(With inputs from Sanjeeb Phuyal and Pankaj Menon)
(UPDATE: This article was updated on May 9, 2022, with responses from Bhim Udas, Samyak Udas, and sources close to the Udas family.)