Despite being told to ‘Get Lost,’ a belligerent China has started a new conflict – this time with the Indian media. China on Saturday reacted angrily to the celebration of Taiwan’s National Day and its coverage by the Indian media and said that India was ‘playing with fire’.
As Taiwan celebrated its 109th National Day on Saturday, Indian media, including some television channels, gave prominent coverage to the celebrations in Taipei and Taiwan President’s speech on the occasion, despite Beijing’s objections.
The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had issued a statement on October 7, advising the Indian media not to refer to Taiwan as a ‘country (nation)’ or ‘Republic of China’ or describe the leader of Taiwan as ‘President, so as not to send a wrong signal to the general public’. The Chinese statement also advised the Indian journalists to stick to ‘One China Policy’.
The Chinese Embassy, in separate messages to around 200 Indian journalists, expressed the hope that they would not ‘violate the one-China principle’.
The External Affairs Ministry, while reacting to the statement by the Chinese Embassy, said that Indian media is free and reports on issues of merit.
‘There is a free media in India that reports on issues that they see fit,’ an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said.
Taiwan reacted strongly to the Chinese Embassy statement. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry tweeted, ‘India is the largest democracy on earth with a vibrant press and freedom loving people. But it looks like Communist China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship. Taiwan’s Indian friends will have one reply ‘Get Lost’.’
Taiwan expressed deep gratitude to ‘Indian friends’ for reporting the Day and said China doesn’t know how democracies work.
China’s official newspaper Global Times accused the Indian media of spreading ‘fake news’ about China and while naming some Indian Television channels, ironically blamed the Indian media for deterioration of India-China relations.
‘Indian media have played a significant role in the deterioration of China-India relations, as well as New Delhi’s worsening relations with other neighbours. Indian media must be reined in if the country truly wants to improve relations with its neighbouring countries,’ the Chinese newspaper mentioned.
The media war intensified in September, when several Indian websites showed young Chinese soldiers sobbing and singing Chinese war songs as they were being deployed on the Indian-China border, amid the stand-off between the two countries.
On September 20, the Taiwanese media posted a video online showing young Chinese Army recruits as sobbing and hysterically crying, while being transferred to the border with India. The video went viral and was mocked at in India as well as in Taiwan. Even a Pakistani television presenter mocked at it.
The Chinese state-controlled media, embarrassed at the video clip, in a strong reaction, said the emotional video involving the PLA soldiers was deliberately misinterpreted. China’s official daily Global Times said many who re-posted the content mocking the PLA were Twitter users from India.