A journalist marred a function here to introduce business persons of the remote Xinjiang Province of China in the presence of its Governor Nur Bekri, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan and senior Foreign Ministry officials.
Ironically, the scribe had protested days after the regional government's Development and Reform Committee appeared to indirectly acknowledge India's claims to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in written response before Mr. Bekri's visit. It described Kashgar as bordering India and not Pakistan while making a case for frontier trade with India.
It all began when a company from Xinjiang was showing its operations with the help of a map that allegedly depicted some areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by both countries, as part of China. A scribe who had gained entry on the basis of his media credentials decided to take matters in his hand and clambered on the stage protesting the inclusion in the map of “parts of India” in China.
As chaos reigned and the journalist, joined by another person, continued to give vent to his feelings from the stage, Mr. Zhang told him to “shut up.” This further inflamed the scribe who was then pacified by Mr. Zhang and senior Foreign Office official Gautam Bambawale.
Mr. Zhang later told mediapersons that Indian officials had drawn his attention to the issue after the map was projected on the screen. “This is a technical issue. We handle these issues. Your Joint Secretary [Mr. Bambawale] has mentioned and I have said that we will look into this. I have talked to our people. So what else can I do for you,” he observed. “Shut up is not something that changes the nature of these things because we are handling this in a friendly way,” added the normally affable Chinese envoy.
The hour-long disruption left many in the audience stunned and dissatisfied as this was the first time a business delegation led by its Governor had come to India. China is investing heavily in the Xinjiang province and Pakistani businessmen, along with their counterparts from bordering Central Asian countries, have already made inroads into the region.