Recently, the Chinese embassy in India had published a notice, telling Chinese citizens currently staying in India that China will operate special flights to evacuate its citizens stranded in India and those facing the difficulties of returning to the mainland from June 2 onwards.
According to the official press release which was in Mandarin, the evacuation services offered by the Chinese government could be availed by international students, tourists and temporary business-visa holders among others who are facing difficulties in India.
China has asked its citizens willing to return to China to register by the morning of May 27.
The notification had come amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic and the current military standoff at the LAC in Ladakh. Media reports had cited the border tension and the increasing troops deployment at the Galwan flashpoint and had mentioned that the suddem notification regarding China trying to evacuate its citizens from India may also be related to the increasing tensions at the LAC.
Global Times calls evacuation reports ‘far-fetched and misguided’
Global Times, the Chinese government mouthpiece had yesterday published a report stating, “The voluntary repatriation plan should be seen as a normal service provided by the embassy to its citizens. Yet, some Indian media outlets have intentionally linked the normal operation to the recent border tension between China and India in the Galwan Valley region, fueling a new round of irresponsible speculation that China may be preparing for an escalation of the border disputes.”
Calling linking of the evacuation plan and the border standoff ‘far-fetched and misguided’ the report further read, “It is entirely justifiable that the Chinese government would help its citizens return to their home country, given the difficulties in the aviation industry. India banned all incoming international flights in late March, and its ongoing coronavirus lockdown has stranded students, tourists and business people in the country for some time.”
“The Indian government should not misinterpret the move by China this time. After all, it was not long ago that the Indian government took similar actions to bring home its citizens stranded abroad”, it added.
The Global Times report further went on a rant against India’s trade policies and FDI rules, claiming that India, after potentially blocking Chinese companies from takeovers in India, is further considering clamping down on Chinese investors’ access to the Indian market.
It claimed that “hyping border tensions at this juncture will flare up nationalist sentiment and increase domestic hostility toward Chinese capital, putting unnecessary pressure on bilateral trade and dealing a further blow to the Indian economy already plagued by downturn woes.”
It is clear that the Global Times report is another veiled attempt by China to arm-twist India into believing what it wants it to believe. The extensive mention of the increasing coronavirus cases, the economic impact of the lockdown and the potential economic difficulties ahead, it is almost as if China wants attention turned away from the standoff at the LAC.
China’s and media
China does not believe is media freedom and freedom of expression. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and searching giant Google are banned in China. The extensive internet censorship has even earned a satirical term, The Great Firewall of China’. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, China was accused of going to great lengths to suppress the truth and keeping the world in dark about the threat of a pandemic.
Recently, China had also thrown another tantrum over Indian media organisations’ reportage over Taiwan and its inclusion in the World Health Assembly (WHA).
Replicating this obsession over the ‘One-China principle’, the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, Ji Rong, had on 11 May posted a series of tweets urging the Indian media organisations to take a “correct stance” on Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organisation’s activities.
China had also been particularly unhappy with some Indian media outlets, for their constant coverage on China’s failures and blunders.