Doklam standoff: Chinese media’s propaganda war against India on Doklam issue has failed to find any takers in the international community comprising of democratic nations. Japan has openly come in support of New Delhi, while the US has embarrassed China by showing no sympathy over the victim card played by China. Not only this, Chinese propaganda machinery, comprising of a bunch of state-sponsored media, including fire-spitting Global Times, has left top global media organisations amused. Global Times has threatened India of war on numerous occasions since the standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers broke out in mid-June.
Contrary to the position of India and Bhutan, China accuses New Delhi of violating the border in its territory. It claims Indian soldiers challenged Beijing’s sovereignty by stopping the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from building a road in Doklam region of Sikkim sector, which China claims as its own. With the help of its propaganda machinery, Beijing has been trying to hide the fact that its army was unilaterally trying to change the status quo in a region which belongs to Bhutan and is strategically significant to India.
Chinese media’s reactions to Doklam standoff have been peculiar and, interestingly, all of them include at least four common themes: a) Praise of China’s so-called superior military as compared to India. b) Mockery of India’s economy vis-a-vis China. c) Claim of China’s moral superiority with its so-called desire for peace with neighbours. d) Threatening India with dire consequences, even sometimes with war. These themes have appeared with so much regularity in Chinese media’s editorials and articles, that one wonders if they were all written by the same person?
Unlike India or countries like the US and the UK, there is no free press in China. So, it is futile to imagine that Chinese media can ever be rational or even share the truth. No wonder when recently China’s official Xinhua news agency released a racist video in a bid to highlight India’s ‘Seven Sins’ on Doklam, it not just shocked the international media but invited sharp reactions from across the world. Scores of users on social media even questioned the taste and quality of the video, which was shared exclusively for the international audience. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are banned in China.
The Guardian called the Chinese lie, saying, “In recent years, Chinese propaganda chiefs have embraced social media networks as a means of spreading the Communist party’s line overseas.” The CNBC called the video a “racist depiction of Indians”, while The Washington Post said, “State-run news agency (posted) a bizarre video mocking India as a bad neighbor – with an actor wearing a turban, fake beard speaking in a put-on Indian accent. Indian netizens immediately denounced the video as racist.”
“Propaganda is not enough for Xinhua, it now also makes racist videos about India. This is really unbelievable coming from state news wire.” tweeted Jojje Olsson, a Swedish writer who has written three books on China.
The New York Times observed, “Hoping to move away from the dull propaganda of an earlier era, the ruling Communist Party has in recent years turned to rap songs, animations and comedy skits to convey talking points. But many of those forays have been criticized as strained and over the top.”
Unlike China, media in democratic countries have the right to question their own governments. Its time for China to understand its propaganda machinery can hardly convince the global community with fake claims. Unless, of course, the Communist country gets a dose of democracy for itself.