In a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, Chinese President Xi Jinping is assumed to have conveyed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that “China is willing to work with India to maintain their hard-won sound relations”, further suggesting that “China and India should continue dialogues at various levels and areas, and frequently exchange views on major issues of common interest to enhance understanding and trust”.
However, China’s state-controlled and run Global Times, affiliated to the People’s Daily—the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party—took on a contrarian, and almost diametrically differing note to Xi Jinping’s statement just a week prior to the G-20 summit, which saw an assembly of the world’s top political leadership. The Global Times ran a vitriolic commentary on how the Indian PM’s “provocations raise risks for India”, and charged PM Modi of “losing patience and switching to the expected hard-line tone of hostility”. The commentary further highlighted Modi’s address to the nation on India’s Independence Day during the course of which, he expressed gratitude to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit, and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
The Chinese state-controlled media termed this gesture to being “so provocative” that it would educe a response by Pakistan, inevitably, thus drawing the world’s attention at a time “…[Modi’s] government is trying to prevent the issue being internationalized…” What China abjectly failed to acknowledge was that which international/regional forum has Pakistan relinquished until now, in all these decades, on which it has not raised the “Kashmir issue”? The pages of history are testament that India and its people have suffered at the inhumane hands of terrorism and bloodshed unceasingly supported, sponsored, and abetted by Pakistan. India remains committed to being at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, and PM Modi stated the same in no less terms at the G-20 forum by making a tacit reference to Pakistan for “spreading agents of terror and violence in South Asia” and using it as an instrument of state policy.
For the Chinese print media to term the “recent events in Indian-controlled Kashmir, hit by massive protests, violence and death in the last 50 days, as a result of the death of Burhan Wani, a young Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander” is nothing short of being a preposterous campaign that is misleading to say the least. Wani was a local commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a designated terrorist organisation listed by the US, European Union and India. Wani picked up the gun and was involved in spreading terror, violence and murder of civilians, with the ultimate aim of seceding Kashmir from the Union of India. Burhan Wani should have chosen the “ballot” to further his cause, and not the “bullet”, as he preferred to do. It is well known that of all the terrorist outfits currently operating in Jammu and Kashmir, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen remains among the largest, with a cadre base that is drawn from indigenous and foreign sources, to perpetrate violence and terror across the state.
The pages of history are testament that India and its people have suffered at the inhumane hands of terrorism and bloodshed unceasingly supported, sponsored and abetted by Pakistan.
As for China that is intently keeping a tab and highlighting the “excessive use of force by the Indian government to suppress local calls for autonomy”, one would be compelled to raise a few critical observations and facts about China’s own dark and horrid reality that confronts the very basics of a democratic way of life and governance, the freedom to express and the freedom to choose. India, and its successively elected and chosen governments, have indeed provided the space, and scope, for protests, in that, had this not been the case, the current situation in Kashmir would have been quite different.
India has accepted voices of dissent to express themselves and be heard—something that is completely unheard of in China—a communist nation that exercises the most tight-fisted political and military control over its “Autonomous Regions” in Tibet and Xinjiang by means of ruthlessly repressing its ethnic minority communities in western China. After all, the world has not forgotten China’s cold-blooded massacre of protesting students at the Tiananmen Square in 1989. The world is not oblivious to the continuing atrocities and crackdown against the Tibetans and Uyghurs, who are seething under a brutal Chinese onslaught that is resulting in a society filled with trepidation and unease. With the current tightening of control on online social networks and suppression of political dissent and activism, laced with a defence budget that continues to raise spending to tackle internal security, Beijing has far too much to address within its own boundaries, than passing judgements on democratically-elected governments and their people.