Updated: Apr 17
Chennai Centre for China Studies on May 27, 2021, held an in-house discussion on China’s mocking of India’s health crisis.
The deliberations among the distinguished members of C3S centered on the article “Mocking India’s Health Crisis Reflects the CCP’s Wicked Thinking and Hurts China’s Soft Power”, by Jianli Yang. The author observes by stating deriving such sadistic pleasure reflected the CCP’s wicked thinking thereby hurting China’s soft power projections.
In the article, both in respect of the pictures juxtaposing China’s rocket launch with India’s funeral pyres, and the mocking of Indian soldiers at the time of Doklam, India ought to have summoned the Chinese Ambassador and conveyed its displeasure, demanding an apology, followed by a formal demarche to Chinese foreign office to the same effect. Incidentally, even the Indian media showed apathy towards this issue.
The discussion outlined the significant differences between India and China. In India, such mocking of the Chinese, if at all, does not emanate from the GoI. And, they were never of such bestial insensitivity, even if they do.
Whereas in the case of the rocket Vs. pyre issue, it was put on the social media platform ‘Weibo’ by the CCP’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission. The CCP can claim to be just a party but in the case of a single-party authoritarian China, the Party is the Government. In fact, China has *NOT* been a nation-state which most normal countries are, but it is a ‘Party-State’. Therefore, this mockery has to be considered coming directly from the Chinese Government.
When questioned, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman remarked, “Regarding the relevant picture mentioned in the question, we currently cannot find it on the relevant Weibo account. It is hoped that the Indian side will pay attention to the Chinese government and mainstream public opinion supporting India’s stance in fighting the epidemic,”
Immediately, China responded by stopping the supply of oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies to India, which is the usual ‘immediate punishment’ tactic of the Chinese Imperial system. This forms a part of the ‘strategic culture’ of China.
Parallels were drawn to an incident, that happened on August 17, 2017. Xinhua released a racist explainer video “7 Sins of India”— presented in English for a Western audience — that mocked a stereotypical Indian (portrayed by a Chinese actor wearing a fake turban and beard) while painting an aggrieved and one-sided picture of events in the disputed border plateau. It mockingly accuses “thick-skinned” New Delhi of trespass, violating convention, not knowing right from wrong, hijacking Bhutan, and sticking to its mistakes. “Didn’t your Mumma tell you, never break the law?” the female presenter appealed.
Now, it has to be noted Xinhua is the official state-run press agency of PRC. It can’t get any closer to the government than this. Even Global Times is part of CCP’s People’s Daily. There is nothing private in China, as we all are aware of.
As it happened with oxygen concentrators now, in August 2017, China immediately withdrew supplying flood-related hydrographic data to us on the Brahmaputra leading to 140 deaths and suffering by several thousand shortly thereafter, after protests against the ‘7 Sins of India’ video.
China has exhibited this ‘tit-for-tat’ punishments behaviour with great immediacy too and at all times.
Such barbaric expositions and insensitivity are coming from a totally state-controlled section. China loses no time in issuing demarches to those who cross the red line in their assessment. India needs to make it clear that this is just not civilized behaviour of a so-called civilizational power.
Therefore, there is no need also to give any benefit of the doubt as in the case of our media as everything is cleared by the CCP before it goes up anywhere. Hence, no excuses that it is not on the web anymore as offered by the Chinese authorities should have stopped India from lodging a protest with the Ambassador in Delhi who has been given the privilege of writing for the English-language daily ‘The Hindu’.
In conclusion, China has used the free liberal media in democracies like India to carry out its propaganda and justify its actions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The same courtesy would not be extended to a diplomat from India in Beijing to write an article justifying India’s response.
While on the face it China emphasizes its civilizational and cultural moorings, the use of medieval weapons which resulted in the loss of lives of 20 Indian soldiers at the Galwan valley and China’s resultant insensitive reporting after having been the originator of the Wuhan Virus is shocking, to say the least.
The members of C3S condemn this insensitive reporting with the collusion of the state media controlled by the CCP. Hope, China carries out a deep introspection of its behaviour with not just India but also with many other smaller nations where it has tried to browbeat the government and its people.
(Report compiled and edited by Balasubramanian C, Research Officer, C3S)