Saturday, July 8, 2017

In PR Move, China Addresses Indians in Video Comment Over Border Stand-Off; see also.

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From the start, China has been on public relations blitzkrieg in the Doklam stand-off with daily statements from the foreign and defence ministries


New Delhi: In an unprecedented resort to public diplomacy, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi released a video by its political counsellor contesting the official Indian statement on the Himalayan stand-off at Doklam near the Bhutan border.
The video, 3 minutes and 29 seconds long, was uploaded late Wednesday night and is the first post on the YouTube account of “Chinese embassy press”.
In his monologue in English, Li Ya claims credibility in offering China’s view given his “first-hand knowledge” of the border areas. “Some Indian friends are deeply worried at face-off between Chinese and Indian border troops at Doklam. I have been to China-India and China-Bhutan border areas many times and have first-hand knowledge about Doklam in that sense, I would like to share my perception on the current situation in Doklam,” Li begins.
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It is, therefore, highly unusual and significant that Chinese diplomacy is directly addressing the Indian audience. Further, Chinese embassy officials in India, except for the ambassador and press officer, are rarely identified and keep a low profile.
During previous border transgressions, Indian officials had sometimes referred to public sentiment within India in order to persuade China to move its troops back to previous lines.
The video was released just a couple of hours after the Chinese embassy issued a press release on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra [see], citing the “great efforts” made by China previously to facilitate the pilgrimage, which it acknowledged was an “important part of China-India people-to-people and cultural exchanges”.
China had stopped the pilgrimage from going through the Nathu-La pass on June 20, leaving three batches of pilgrims waiting for Beijing to open the door.  ...
Since China claims Doklam, the movement of Indian troops into that region has been described as a violation of the 1890 Anglo-Chinese convention on Sikkim and Tibet. Beijing asserts that India had endorsed this treaty, citing a letter of 1960. However, India asserts that only the alignment of the border at the watershed line had been agreed. In turn, India accused China of violating the written understanding on involving third countries in resolving the tri-junction issues, decided by the special representatives in 2012.
“Based on my knowledge and work on the China-India and China-Bhutan border affairs in the past decade, I would like to say that India’s position are groundless,” Li Yan says in the YouTube video. ...

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