How China managed to manipulate opinion pieces in India on coronavirus

WION New Delhi Jul 31, 2020, 09.55 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Coronavirus in India Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The opinion pieces with a pro-China spin to every event and crisis was designed to look like personal views

China knows how to control the narrative both at home and abroad. The Dragon has now attempted to control the minds of Indian newspaper readers.

The method Beijing uses is very simple - make one of its officials write an op-ed for a newspaper. An opinion piece in leading Indian dailies that carry them without understanding the hidden motives...

In February 2020, the coronavirus was slowly spreading and nobody knew about the danger it posed to global economies including India, however, China knew about it. 

On February 29, the Chinese ambassador to India Sun Weidong published an opinion piece in one of India's leading newspaper - Economic Times. The title of the op-ed piece was "China's economy: the open road to development" - a one-sided narrative on how the world and especially India will need China's help for what was coming.

The opinion piece said: "At present, the Chinese government and people are making all-out efforts to combat the novel coronavirus, China's efforts are not only protecting the health of its own people, but also that of the people of the world, including India."

The opinion piece was China's attempt at telling Indians how generous it is, but Indians know everything on how the Chinese military provoked India, grabbed Indian land and killed Indian soldiers.

Another on March 13 was penned by the Chinese ambassador to India. It was carried by The Hindu one of the oldest newspapers in India. It is published in 21 locations and 11 states and many Indians read it. The Hindu carried an op-ed titled: "Fighting COVID-19 together for a shared future". An exhaustive piece of Chinese propaganda. It talked about how the Chinese government had mobilised its efforts to contain the virus and how it was helping countries with medical equipment and research including how it had effectively maintained social stability.

Almost every leading Indian news daily is guilty of providing a platform to Chinese views and propaganda.  On April 2, The Times of India carried this op-ed again by the Chinese ambassador titled: "A seven decades journey: Charting a new course for the Dragon-Elephant tango" with an attached photo of a dragon and elephant shaking hands.

On April 6, the Free Press Journal carried the op-ed: "India and China can show the way in fighting the virus" which was co-authored by China's consular general in Mumbai Mr Tang Guocai and Sudheendra Kulkarni - a member of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

On May 1, the Chinese ambassador wrote an opinion piece for the Hindustan Times titled: "Viruses don't respect border! 

It triggered a wave of Indian media houses doing China's bidding. These are just some examples but all of us know how most Indian media groups work as both print and TV maintained absolute silence for months on China's culpability in spreading the Wuhan virus to the world. It took a border provocation by China to burst their bubble while WION reported each and every fact about China's growing aggression from the word go!

The opinion pieces with a pro-China spin to every event and crisis was designed to look like personal views but a look at the people behind these personal views shows that they are mostly Chinese officials posted in India.