An open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping

Delhi Jul 04, 2020, 06.44 PM(IST) Written By: Palki Sharma

File photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping Photograph:( AFP )

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As the first sign of making amends, which our persistent hope is that you want to, you must unblock WION. 

Dear President Xi,

Hope this finds you well and safe from the ravages of the virus you’ve gifted us. You’ll appreciate that thanks are not in order and shall not be extended. Suffice to say, we’re doing the best we can, given the soup, a certain kind of soup has landed us in. This has been the most unsavoury business in a century and might I add that your conduct isn’t helping at all.  

The pandemic was bad enough, and for a while, at least in the beginning, the world seemed prepared to concede that it may not have been entirely your fault. But you did not play a straight bat, if you know what I mean, and now find yourself on a sticky wicket. Play wisely now, dear Sir, or you shall be out.

If I may be so impertinent to suggest that the first thing you must do is give your advisors the marching orders, preferably not towards any border towns, as you may have already realized the futility of such ill-advised adventures. Your courtiers have not been telling you the truth, not even a close estimation of it. Quite the contrary, in fact. They’ve led you to believe that China is at the centre of the world and your wish is the world’s command. I’m afraid that’s not the case, and fervently hope it never is. 

In keeping with our neighbourly duties, we at WION decided to apprise you of the cracks appearing in your propaganda walls, and forewarn you about your roof leaking with falsehoods. Our forthrightness seems to have not agreed with your team for they have now blocked us. While we suffered your intrusions into our borders, our phones, our homes, even our Diwali decorations in the spirit of neighbourly forbearance, your blocking of our channel was most unbecoming and graceless. Nonetheless, all’s not lost and you’re in luck that you’re dealing with the land of Buddha where people are blessed with the faculty of immense patience. 

So let me start by introducing you to the concept of free speech. Fret not, it may be new to you and may take a while to understand, but once you do you shall find yourself discovering its joys. Free speech operates on the principle that every human being, Communist or otherwise, Han Chinese or Uighur Chinese, has the right to say what he or she thinks. It often involves thoughts that you’d much rather not be acquainted with, or in your particular case would want to erase any traces of. Free speech has its advantages, like rendering water canons and the security law in Hong Kong redundant. Imagine the possibilities!

It is on the concept of free speech that a free press works. It tells you stories, ideally based on facts, that your deputies won’t. Blocking it is a disservice to yourself and your people. You’ve boxed yourself in an echo chamber of yes-men; I imagine it can be frustrating, an existence devoid of varied opinion, emotion and vigour. Your belligerence betrays this frustration. So as the first sign of making amends, which our persistent hope is that you want to, you must unblock WION. 

Mr President, you like to show the world that you’re an avid reader of the classics. Why, you share reading lists comprising Greek, French, German and Russian writers, which people in China dutifully like! As a teenager working in the poor yellow earth of Northern Shaanxi, you were reportedly obsessed by the Shakespearean question “to be, or not to be.” I urge you to ask yourself that question again and decide not to be the leader who goes down in history as the one who led his country to ruin to fulfill his ambition, and satiate his hunger for power and land. May I recommend a reading of the Bhagwad Gita to douse your lust for what doesn’t belong to you. You had a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead the largest country in the world, but your greed is whittling it away, one dispute at a time. 

I’m not holding my breath for you to see the point I’m making, but I’ll be none the worse for trying to make you see it. 

Palki Sharma 
Executive Editor,