On Friday, Sonam Wangchuk, Ladakh based innovator and education reformist, took to his Youtube channel to urge fellow Indians to boycott Chinese products, in the wake of the recent military standoff between India and China at the LAC (Line of Actual Control) in Ladakh.
Following the call for a boycott of Chinese products by Wangchuk, many celebrities, including Bollywood actors Milind Soman and Arshad Warsi supported his movement and took a stand not to buy Chinese products anymore.
Incidentally, a section of ‘Indians’ seems to be hurt by these boycott calls against China and have resorted to bat in favour of Chinese. However, propagating pro-Chinese propaganda, some so-called influential voices in the media not only mocked this anti-China stand narrative but also indulged in peddling fake news to discredit the movement.
On Sunday, veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, known for his notorious history of peddling fake news, took to Twitter to mock Sonam Wangchuk for his call for boycotting Chinese products. In doing so, Rajdeep Sardesai tried to be cheeky and claimed that he could well lead a life without Chinese apps such as TikTok, however, tried to take a dig at Modi government by asking what will they do against ‘Made in China’ Statue of Unity.
In doing so, Rajdeep Sardesai went on to claim that the ‘Statue of Unity’ built by the Modi government in Kevadia, Gujarat was in fact ‘Made in China’ and not built in India. According to Rajdeep Sardesai, the ‘Chinese-built’ statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel should also be boycotted.
Fact-checking Rajdeep Sardesai’s claims
The ‘Statue of Unity’, the tallest statue in the world built as a tribute to one of India’s greatest leaders – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – was actually constructed by the engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in India and not in China, as claimed by Rajdeep Sardesai.
According to the reports, the ‘Statue of Unity’ is a three-layered statue. The first and the inner-most layer has two 127-metre-high towers made of reinforced cement concrete. The second layer has been constructed using a steel mesh. Both of these layers were made in India.
The third, which is the outermost layer, has been done using a bronze cladding, which carries intricate details of Patel’s clothes, posture and facial expressions. It is this layer of the statue which was built in China.
Most importantly, when the construction of the statue began, the builders found out that none of the 15 major bronze foundries in India was capable of building these claddings. The construction giant L&T then initiated a global tender to identify a partner to build the cladding.
Finally, the China-based Jiangxi Toqine Metal Crafts Corporation, which is the world’s largest foundry, was given the work of production of around 7,000 bronze plates and panels of various sizes.
This bronze cladding work, reportedly, forms only 9 per cent of the total value of the project. “The entire statue itself is being built in India at the site and only the bronze cladding in the form of bronze plates is being sourced from China, which constitutes a negligible amount of less than 9 per cent of the total value of the project,” the company had stated in 2015.
Secondly, according to an Indian Express report, of the total 4,076 labours working at the site of the statue in two shifts, only 200 workers were from China. The labours who worked in batches for two-three months each since September 2017, were part of a team consisting a thousand workers, who were employed for cladding work. Hence, it forms only 5 per cent of the total workforce involved in erecting the Statue of Unity.
A statue which has been built with over 95 per cent of India’s workforce and also 90 per cent of the statue’s work was done by companies belonging to India, Rajdeep Sardesai’s claim of ‘Statue of Unity’ being a China-made is just blatant misinformation.
As netizens pointed out to the naked propaganda of the pro-Congress journalist, the ‘journalist’ was quick to delete his tweet.