Chinese media slams India’s ‘suspicious mind’

She Yonggang, Wu Qiang, and Lu Tang, the three expelled Xinhua journalists. — Photos courtesy: Facebook  

India’s decision to expel three Chinese journalists has evoked a strong response in China, led by an editorial in the state-run Global Times that warned of “serious consequences” in case New Delhi’s decision was driven by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issue.

The edit titled, “India’s expulsion of reporters is petty act,” notes that the act of not renewing visas to the three journalists from the Xinhua News Agency “has sent negative messages and media communications between China and India will inevitably be negatively impacted.”

The three journalists whose visas are not being renewed, when they expire on July 31 are Wu Qiang, Xinhua bureau chief in Delhi; Tang Lu, chief correspondent at the Mumbai bureau, and She Yonggang, the agency’s reporter in Mumbai.

‘India has a suspicious mind’

The write-up criticised India for having a “suspicious mind”. “No matter whether Chinese reporters apply for a long-term or a temporary journalist visa, they will come across many troubles. Complaints about difficulties of acquiring an Indian visa have also been heard from other Chinese who deal with India. In contrast, it is much easier for Indians to get a Chinese visa.”

The edit observed that “speculation is swirling that India is taking revenge against China for the latter's opposition to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)”. “If New Delhi is really taking revenge due to the NSG membership issue, there will be serious consequences.”

Analysts say that there is a perception in India that China blocked New Delhi’s entry into the NSG, even though countries including Brazil and Switzerland were also not persuaded about India’s case during the grouping’s meeting in Seoul.

‘India must have exercised all options’

In a conversation with The Hindu, Long Xingchun, Associate Professor at the China West Normal University, pointed out that “till now we do not know what is the reason for this action but this casts a negative shadow on India-China relations”. But referring to the possible NSG linkage, he added: “Some think it is India’s

inability to join the NSG, but even if that was the case, other options could have been exercised, without journalists becoming a target.”

Global Times observed that by opposing India's NSG membership, “China is not being disrespectful to India because it obeys the rule that all NSG members are required to be signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

While proposing that Beijing “should stick to a friendly strategy toward India,” the daily nevertheless proposed that on “the visa issue this time, we should take actions to display our reaction. We at least should make a few Indians feel Chinese visas are also not easy to get.”

“China must not adopt tit-for-tat”

But Professor Long strongly disagreed with the adoption of a tit-for-tat approach, through a similar expulsion of Indian journalists from China.

“I hear that Chinese people, especially netizens say that China should take similar action by expelling Indian journalists. I firmly disagree with this proposal.” He added: “As I understand Chinese government under President Xi Jinping, they will possibly not take any response. We can tolerate India’s action.”

Instead of being downsized, media and academic interaction between the two countries must be expanded, Professor Long observed. “I hear that there are only five Indian journalists in China. There should be at least 10-15 Indian journalists and more number of Chinese journalists in India. This will help increase people-to-people interaction and reduce misunderstandings.”

Mixed response on Sina Weibo

Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, carried mixed responses towards India’s decision. “India is trying to pick up a fight. It is time that China expelled some of their diplomats” said a posting. But another netizen speculated that the Chinese journalists were being expelled “because they reported too many scandals and negative news about India.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:09:10 AM |

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