In the time and age of social media, wars are not just limited to the battlefield. While the brave soldiers fight the enemy in flesh and blood, there are other ways the enemy tries to play the game of psychological warfare. Mainstream media has acted as a propaganda tool over the decades. However, with the advent of social media, the psyops have reached another level.
The current situation at Ladakh’s Galwan Valley where Indian troops fought back the Chinese aggression, has led to such psyops by the Chinese. In a very subtle way, the official Chinese state media as well as various anonymous accounts on social networking sites are nudging as if to send across a message that the Indians in China may have to worry should things escalate between the two countries. Not just that, the calls for economic boycott of the communist country products seems to have spooked the Dragon enough that they have resorted to ‘sources’ to plant seeds of doubt and fear in the minds of Indians who are already facing financial pinch because of the Wuhan coronavirus, the deadly pandemic which also originated from China.
Here is a look at some of the recent articles and tweets by Chinese state media.
In this opinion piece, Chinese columnist subtly tries to remind India that China is ‘a giant neighbour’ which India ‘relies’ on to grow its economy. It asks India to not ‘fall prey’ to third country’s instigation and escalate issues. The editorial further warns India to “never fire up geopolitical tensions in Asia, particularly with China and Pakistan – the two countries with which India draws the longest border lines.” China’s close ties with Pakistan are not a secret. Is there a hidden message here?
Here is another China’s ‘main apni favourite hoon‘ moment where it pats itself on its back for self proclaimed superior military equipment which came with a warning about not to get influenced by Western countries.
Here is more of a reminder from Chinese state media on how much it contributes to Indian economy:
Chinese state media also tried to emotionally blackmail Indians by giving lessons on good vs evil.
Speaking of emotional blackmail, here’s more.
Now, call for boycotting Chinese products are being made on Twitter, as per this report and Chinese netizens are upset about these boycott calls on Twitter. However, Twitter is officially banned in China. It doesn’t really add up. So is Chinese state media accepting that despite Twitter ban, its own citizens are able to access Twitter via VPN and that the ban is ineffective? Global Times is English version of Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily. We believe you, Global Times, we do.
Here are some more ‘warnings’ of economic implications of ‘nationalistic sentiments’ of Indians.
The Chinese really, really hate our nationalism.
Who else doesn’t really like the nationalists and would rather identify themselves as ‘anti-nationals’? Hmm. Never mind.
Moving on, Chinese state media also claimed that an Indian student had made ‘offensive remarks’ on Chinese, which upset the Chinese people and he had then ‘apologised’.
See the veiled threat that many social media users who were ‘upset’ with this “Indian student’s offensive remarks” suggested that he be deported? Of course, they did.
Then there’s this ‘gentle reminder’ that listen, you nationalistic Indians, do not forget people from your country live and earn their living here.
But if you think this is owing to the recent violent face-off in Ladakh, you’re mistaken. China has been quite spooked about India becoming self reliant and not depending on China for goods.
Amid coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic which initiated from China’s Wuhan province, Indians had called for self reliance and even then appealed for boycotting Chinese products and going vocal for local. China, clearly, has been quite upset.
That’s not it. China has also tried to use unofficial channels to plant ‘human’ stories and fake news.
This now deleted tweet was shared by one Chinese sounding Twitter handle claiming that no Chinese PLA soldier was killed in the faceoff and China even tended to and helped Indian soldiers who were in their custody get medical attention. A video was shared to that effect. However, the video is two-and-a-half years old. China has consistently been evasive about its death toll in the recent conflict. While it had earlier admitted that its soldiers had died, it has now maintained that there have been no deaths, only injuries.
What is even more unfortunate for India is that many in Indian media and opposition parties like Congress are willing to believe the Chinese propaganda than the Indian government. That Congress and other Left parties as well as mainstream journalists regularly cast aspersions and show distrust in Indian government, they end up knowingly or unknowingly helping the Chinese.
China seems to be currently banking heavily on the lobby that hates PM Modi to succeed and Congress and other Modi haters seem to have taken the bait.