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The Indian Government’s gingerly attempt to regulate online content has invited the wrath of none other than Beijing, which has slammed Indian authorities for “ham-handed and clumsy attempts to muzzle free speech.”
India’s ambassador to China, Dr. S Jaishankar, was summoned by the Chinese Ministry of External Affairs and given a dressing down for his government’s utter incompetence in trying to stifle right wing opinion or block parody accounts of the Indian premier.
Shedding more light on the demarche issued to the hapless Indian envoy, Xinhua, China’s official news agency, stated in a searing editorial:
“Indian elephant want to emulate ways of big dragon. China understands this and even welcomes it. China understands it is difficult for India to match Chinese scale whether it is double digit economic growth, creation of infrastructure, bagging heaps of medals in Olympics, or regulating the internet.
So China merely smiles when India takes baby steps towards authoritarianism by blocking a mere 16 out of 16 million handles, which of course pales in comparison to Chinese awesomeness in banning Twitter outright and censoring more than 13% of content on China’s indigenous version of Twitter, Sina Weibo.
China also completely understands and appreciates that some of these handles have nothing to do with inciting communal disturbances and merely reflect the Indian Government’s intent to clamp down on political dissent in cyber-space.
But what China doesn’t get is how even after 48 hours of passing the clamp down order, most of these twitter handles continue to tweet and air their political views and new parody accounts of PMO continue to spring up to make mockery of Government’s censorship initiative. So Chinese Govt tell Indian Govt in unequivocal terms: STOP PRETENDING TO BE CHINA.”
Chinese mandarins also conveyed their displeasure over the exodus of North-Easterners from South Indian cities after receiving threatening SMSes, since some of those fleeing may have been from the state of Arunachal Pradesh, a territory which Beijing claims is an integral part of China.
After the Indian envoy pointed out that there may have been a Pakistani hand behind the exodus, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang said Beijing will have a talk with Pakistan about not inconveniencing Chinese citizens from Arunachal Pradesh while fomenting trouble in India.
Islamabad has promptly responded with an apology and promised to be more careful. “Didn’t realize Indians have a Kashmir like problem with the Chinese also on their north-eastern frontier. We have promised our Chinese brothers that we will distinguish between Arunachal and rest of North Eastern states going forward,” said Pakistan Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Basit Ali.