For the past several decades, an enigma or an uncomfortable myth has been created around Communist China. It has been repeatedly propagated that the free world doesn’t understand how the People’s Republic of China works. However, on the contrary, it is China that doesn’t understand how the democratic world works. This lack of understanding isn’t really an advantage for China, but a tool to be exploited by the free world and India is making sure of it.
India has shown how to exploit China’s lack of understanding of the democratic world, especially when it comes to something as basic as freedom of the press. Take Taiwan’s National Day for example. Taiwan celebrated its National Day on Saturday. The Chinese Embassy warned Indian media not to go against the ‘One China’ principle ahead of the National Day. But when India’s free press refused to desist, the paper Dragon was befuddled.
Beijing cannot understand how to react against the level of coverage that Taiwan’s National Day found in India’s mainstream and social media. And what do Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wolf-warriors do when they are clueless? They make the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times write a stinging editorial that is invariably high on propaganda and low on substance.
At some level, Beijing’s inability to understand what freedom of the press means has come to bite it back here. China wouldn’t have found itself getting humiliated had the Chinese Embassy not asked the Indian media to refrain from referring to Taiwan as a “nation”. China tried to strong-arm the Indian media into accepting the ‘One China’ policy and this is why Taiwan’s National Day became a subject of interest in India in the first place.
It was because of China’s attempt to bully Indian media that Taipei got an opportunity to hit back at China and also seek closer ties with the people of India. Before a witless Beijing could understand what was happening, posters wishing Taiwan a happy National Day came up outside the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. And thereafter, Beijing’s biggest nightmare came true as posters supporting Taiwan were spotted all across the high-security diplomatic area of Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
The standoff between the Chinese Embassy and the Indian media led to the entire world witnessing how the people of India support Taiwan’s existence as an independent nation. On Saturday, National Taiwan Day became the top trend in India with several Indian nationals, politicians and journalists wishing the Island nation on its 109th National Day.
As for Beijing, its understanding of free media is so miserable that it cannot gauge why the Indian media is even talking about Taiwan, even though the Government of India doesn’t officially recognise the island nation.
Global Times even stated, “The move came as Indian media advocated and supported the Taiwan island celebrating a “national day” and a spokesperson for the Indian foreign ministry defended India’s media’s right to publish its own views even if they don’t respect the one-China policy.”
What ought to be observed here is that for a Communist-authoritarian China, the media cannot have an opinion which is not in line with government policy. Beijing itself enforces mysterious disappearances, if someone dissents and it expects the same out of democratic countries like India. However, when things don’t go the way China wants them to, its witlessness gets called out.
In fact, this is not the first time that India has been able to embarrass Beijing before the world due to Communist China’s inability to understand democracy, free speech, and freedom of the press. Even earlier this year, the Chinese Embassy had tried to issue instructions to Indian media outlets like WION and TOI. Even then, Beijing was insisting that the Indian media should stick to the paper Dragon’s version of the ‘One China’ policy.
But here is the real deal- free media doesn’t take instructions from any embassy or for that matter the government itself. Indian media isn’t a sham like Chinese State-run tabloids which barely qualify as media outlets. Indian media speaks its mind which is why WION has continued to criticise Chinese belligerence and we at TFIPOST too haven’t bowed down to the Chinese Embassy’s instructions to observe the ‘One China’ policy.
China is only becoming a source of derision by trying to stifle Indian media’s freedom of speech. India is therefore successfully using its democratic values, free speech and freedom of press to humiliate China and the Middle Kingdom cannot really do anything about it.