Wednesday, September 9, 2009

CHINESE MILITARY "GREATLY DISPLEASED" BY INDIAN MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHINA

B.RAMAN


In a report under the heading "China Refutes Trespass Claims" carried on September 10,2009 , the "Global Times", the English-language daily published by the Communist Party-owned "People's Daily" group, has quoted a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of National Defence as saying that Chinese border patrols strictly abide by the relevant agreements on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along the
India-China border and have never carried out "provocative actions" towards India.
According to the paper, he said on September 9: "The recent reports by Indian media of intrusions are groundless and irresponsible." The previous day, Jiang Yu, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, had described the India reports of a Chinese troop intrusion into Indian territory near Mount Gya in the Ladakh region as "groundless and incorrect."

2. The "Global Times" has quoted a source "close to the Chinese military" as saying as follows: " "Indian media always quotes government officials as their sources, but the Chinese military has not received any protests from the Indian Ministry of Defense recently." It further quotes the same source as saying that the reports have "greatly displeased" officials in the Chinese military.


3. The paper also quotes Ouyang Wei, a Chinese military expert from the University of National Defense, as claiming that the negative reports on China by Indian media far exceeded negative reports on India in the Chinese media. He described this as a very significant problem in the bilateral relations and added: "The Indian government should investigate the irresponsible reports, to find the sources of the
fake news, and refute the rumors."


4.Chinese non-governmental analysts have also been critical of the way sections of the Indian media sensationalised an incident involving the temporary detention of a plane of the UAE Air Force at Kolkata earlier this week for not correctly declaring that it was carrying a consignment of arms and ammunition and "combat missiles" to China. According to them, these arms and ammunition and missiles, which were manufactured in China, had been sent to Abu Dhabi for displaying in an international exhibition of military equipment and were being taken back to China after the exhibition was over. These analysts have expressed surprise over the manner in which the whole issue was sought to be sensationalised by sections of the Indian media as if it was a sinister development.


5. The same report of the "Global Times" cited above has stated on this incident as follows: " Dai Xu, a renowned military expert, said that the actions by Indian authorities violated diplomatic rights as the cargo on board belong to China. "Any inspection onboard, which may have violated China's property rights and constituted spying on its military secrets, should be approved by both the UAE and China," Dai said.An unnamed military source told the Global Times the UAE airplane was on a mission transporting Chinese arms from an arms expo in Abu Dhabi. "When the airplane stopped in Kolkata Sunday to refuel, the UAE crew member used the empty cargo certificate it used when it flew to China to carry the weapons at the beginning."


6. My comment: While it is important for the media to report instances of alleged Chinese troop intrusions into Indian territory, it should take care at the same time not to cretate an anti-China frenzy, which may get out of control. One was disturbed by the way a national TV channel played up in a jingoistic manner the incident in the Ladakh sector in which a Chinese patrol was alleged to have intruded into Indian
territory and painted on a stone "China". Two acknowledged experts on China, who have an excellent knowledge of the Chinese language, appeared on the programme---- a reputed academic of Delhi and a retired China expert of the Government of India. One would have expected the anchor to ask them to translate for the viewers what was written on the stone and to comment on the implications of it. If he had done
it, the entire jingoistic programme might have ended in a fizzle. He did not do so. Instead, most of the time, the viewers were subjected to an anti-China harangue by a retired Army officer. I myself do not know Chinese, but I am told by those who know Chinese that what was written on the stone was "MiddleYellow River". It could also be translated as "Central Yellow River".


7."Middle" can also refer to China----an allusion to the so-called Middle Kingdom. What should have been discussed at the very beginning of the programme was: Normally, detractors of China refer to it as suffering from the Middle Kingdom mentality. Would a Chinese Army soldier use it? Why the reference to the "Yellow River"? Where is this river? Instead of having a balanced debate on such questions, the anchor went bang, bang, bang against China without first ascertaining from the two Chinese experts what exactly was written in Chinese script on the stone, which was shown in a sinister manner to the viewers.


8.We have a very strong case against the Chinese on the border issue, which we should project in a non-sensational, non-jingoistic manner, but by indulging in such methods we might find our credibility weakened in the eyes of the international community.(10-9-09)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

2 comments:

Vijainder K Thakur said...

In the discussion hosted on the Timesnow channel, the host did call for a translation and an expert translated the spray painted mandarin as 'Chinese.'

If the facts of the case are correct, it is the media's duty to highlight the intrusion, in a manner that in its perception makes the most impact.

It is possible the media is erring in the extent and stridency of its coverage but that error is more easily forgivable than a government that refuses to inform its citizens of incursions and loss of territory.

Secrecy is almost always an attempt to hide a weakness because it makes no sense to hide your strengths.

Why can't the defense minister routinely appraise the parliament and the nation of the state of the nation's borders detailing incursions and putting them in perspective? The channels will not get a chance to sensationalize the news then as a media scoop!

I am sure bureaucrats will give very plausible reasons why that should not be done, but not the most likely one - The Army and the government are often not aware of all the incursions!

Media coverage maybe lacking balance but there can be no denying that there has been a important change in the pattern of Chinese incursions and incompetence on the part of the Indian Army and government may once again be putting the country at risk.

Shaan said...

The UAE plane incident would not have happened if the plane had furnished the proper details. It is completely wrong if the Chinese analysts call it as infringement of China's sovereignty. In any case it is UAE's plane, not China's. We need to be rightly concerned about it considering the massive proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies by China.