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Photo Credit: Xinhua Video Screen-grab.
A video issued by China’s official news agency Xinhua, which features racist stereotypes of Indians, has created an uproar online. The video attempts to ‘malign’ India’s intervention in Doklam an uninhabited territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.
Xinhua’s Spark Series
The video is a part of Xinhua’s Spark series, the recently launched English-language segment aimed at foreign audiences. The video features anchor Dier Wang accusing India of “committing seven sins”. Wang takes a dig on India for trespassing on Chinese soil, violating international law and “hijacking” the tiny kingdom of Bhutan, caught up in the Indo-China dispute.
The three-minute 22-second clip in English that went viral shows a turbaned character speaking in monosyllables and imitating an Indian English accent. He is shown intimidating a character representing a Bhutanese citizen. The video portrays Bhutan admitting to Doklam being a Chinese territory, and being a reluctant partner to India.
The conflict between India and China started in mid-June this year when the Royal Bhutanese Army objected to Beijing’s efforts to construct a road through the Doklam plateau. India supported Bhutan and urged China to stop the construction. The video that that may add to the simmering tensions between the two countries, has been released at a time when China seems to be loosing the diplomatic ‘war’ over Doklam.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 16, 2017
Indians have called the video racist, and one which “particularly targets the Sikh minority”. The Hindustan Times calls the video “the latest salvo against India by the (Chinese) state media” while digital news portal The Quint said it was “yet another attempt by Chinese media to push its aggressive rhetoric on the stand-off”. India Today believes that the “Chinese media has gone a step further, unabashedly mocking India”.
Photo Credit: Xinhua Video Screen-grab
Speaking to the New York Times, Daniel C. Lynch, a professor of Asian and international studies at the City University of Hong Kong, said the video seemed aimed at reinforcing stereotypes that claim India is “backward, disorganized and irrational” when compared with China. “It really looks bad for China. It’s a terrible piece of propaganda,” he added, concluding that the effort would most likely backfire among a global audience.
Meanwhile, the UK-based Sikh Press Association has said it was, “sad to see just how low Chinese media have stooped in using Sikh identity as a pawn in their state propaganda against India,” according to a BBC report.
Social Media Outrage
The video has prompted criticism from social media users across the world, who seem to be taken aback by the Chinese state media’s endorsement of ‘mockery’ and ‘racism’.
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) August 16, 2017
Jojje Olson, a swedish writer in Asia who has written extensively on China called it a ‘propaganda’ from Xinhua.
Propaganda is not enough for Xinhua, it now also makes racist videos about India. This is really unbelievable coming from state news wire. https://t.co/doU7bPO8J1
— Jojje Olsson (@jojjeols) August 17, 2017
Neelima Mahajan, a visiting scholar at University of California’s Berkeley School of Journalism, wrote on Twitter:
If Xinhua hates India so much that it created that crappy racist video, wondering why it has Hindi news? @xinhua_hindi
— Neelima Mahajan (@NeelimaMahajan) August 17, 2017