IssueNet Edition| Date : 09 Nov , 2013
Indian and Chinese troops train together
The fact that the media is government paid and government controlled in Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is no secret. It is convenient since then the population, particularly the youth can be fed what the CCP wants to feed them. The information explosion and social networking has upset all that though no stone is left unturned to curb even that. So there is no wonder that anything in foreign media, including Indian media, which is not in tune with what the CCP wants to feed the population is not taken kindly.
This may come as a surprise to you as unlike China, our media is not paid by the government and so there is freedom to write what one feels, particularly in blogs.
In the above context, I received a communication titled ‘some questions’ from a serving PLA scholar I had met during an international seminar last year. The scholar claimed to have read an article of mine, deduced it was very very hostile to China, wanted to know why and also forwarded a set of four questions seeking response that would help in the scholar’s research. Replying to the insinuation of “very very hostile to China”, my response was thus – I have authored some 350 articles and two books since I retired in end November 2009 and many of these on subject other than China are much more critical of my own country on many issues. You would agree that if I was a Chinese national and criticized my own country in similar fashion, I would be in jail or probably done away with. This may come as a surprise to you as unlike China, our media is not paid by the government and so there is freedom to write what one feels, particularly in blogs. I believe in writing bluntly since I believe it is through criticism that points for improvement can emerge. There is no hostility or animosity that I nurture towards China. For my son’s wedding in November 2011, I had invited Vice Chairman of a prominent Think Tank in Beijing. When I extended the invitation to him verbally while visiting Beijing earlier in that year, he was taken aback, surprised and he asked me, “Does this mean you consider me a friend?” I was equally surprised by this question and my response was, “Of course I do.”
Perhaps he thought I was joking but then I sent him a formal invitation after returning to India. Closer to the wedding I received a telephone call from China’s Assistant Military Attaché in New Delhi that the Vice Chairman of the Think Tank in question thanked me but was unable to attend, and whether the Military Attaché can attend and represent him. I confirmed this. Later I received another telephone call asking whether the Assistant Military Attaché can also attend. I again confirmed both are welcome along with anyone else. They both did come and attended the wedding. I don’t think I would have done so if I nurtured any hostility towards China and I don’t think many military personnel posted at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi would have received invitations on personal level to attend an Indian wedding, if at all.