By Li Hongmei People's Daily Online
The dispute over boundary issues between China and India is expected to be settled, or to take a substantial step forward approaching the final solution, only on the condition that both of them are ready to shake off the traditional conceptions and deep-seated misunderstandings. Meanwhile, both reach out to each other in a joint effort to cultivate a good-will atmosphere for public opinions.
But it seems that things are going just to the opposite. Even when it is still a moot point whether there will be another border war between the two Asian rivals, the war of words has long set in and to this date shows no signs of ceasing. Hyped up by Indian media on border disputes with the cliché 'China Threat Theory', public opinions within India were quickly churned up into a roaring sea against China and the Chinese people.
On the other hand, the Chinese side, while retorting sarcastically in its state run media, has been actually exercising restraint in an effort to salvage the situation from further trending down. However, the bitter exchanges have so far spilled into the open following a handful of irresponsible India media institutions fabricated stories to incite anti-China sentiments among the Indian public by quoting some unbeknownst sources or unidentifiable interviewees.
One famous example, besides the old favorite 'Chinese incursions' tale, was that some Indian media organs on purpose cooked up a Chinese blog article published on a pivotal website as early as 2006, and even linked it to some Chinese think tank simply because the blogger was named 'strategy' online. And they thereby assumed the blogger must have been a member of China's Center for Strategy Studies. They cudgeled their brain to convince both the Indian officialdom and public that China, according to 'the top Chinese think tank', intended to split India by encouraging communal divisions in India in order to break it up into 20-30 small states. A fanciful story invented by Indian media based on 'China Threat.'
Another oft-used strategy, if it is so popular a word for Indian media, I would like to borrow it here, is loudly and desperately bragging about the Indian strength, particularly how mighty India is as a military power, in an attempt to intimidate China. The example to be cited here is the recent threat from India, leaked also by some of its media, that India would possibly blast China's major railway into the Tibetan Plateau, a project built in 2006, and dubbed as the 'gateway to the top of the world' by both Chinese and foreign tourists, but absurdly regarded by Indian officials and defense analysts as designed for the rapid deployment of troops to attack India.
Admittedly, these baseless assumptions will eventually declare their own bankruptcy when confronted with facts, but the negative effects brought about by the media on the already volatile bilateral ties would probably linger on. But one thing is certain—although China-India rivalry could extend well into the future, they will never pose a mortal foe to each other. They would maintain discontents over wide arrays of issues, but they are not flooded in the orgies of inveterate hatred. Why the Indian media is so fanatic as to stoke up a life-and-death fight between the two neighbors is really beyond understanding.
At present, India is still a lesser power than China in terms of economy and, military, both conventionally and unconventionally. But it is evident that the U.S. has been tipping the balance between China and India, seeking to woo India away from Russia and China and, in the mean time, feeding India's ambition to match China force for force by its ever burgeoning arms sales to India.
Emboldened by the U.S., and fueled by the media over the flare-up of nationalism in India and chauvinism among the Hinduism public, Indian government is somewhat eclipsed by the media-manipulated public opinions, and gets disoriented when making decisions.
If the dangerous war-loving sentiments remain untamed, an accidental slip or go-off at the border would erode into a war, which is the last thing to expect to both as the developing nations.