China’s official news agency Xinhua has come under fire for a talk show segment demanding India “confess its seven sins.” The programme features a Chinese actor pretending to be Indian.
For over a month, Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a standoff at a remote but strategically important Himalayan plateau near where Tibet, India and Bhutan meet. The area is disputed by China and Bhutan but India’s decision to jump into the fray reflects its concerns about Beijing’s growing military might and ambitions in the region, analysts say.
On Wednesday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua aired the segment, entitled “7 Sins of India,” on the English-language talk show The Spark. The video criticises Indian troops’ “illegal cross[ing]” of the China-India border.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 16, 2017
“When the whole world is trying to wake India up from its impulse, China’s realised it’s impossible to awaken a guy who’s pretending to be asleep,” said newscaster Dier Wang.
The segment then cuts to footage of an actor wearing a turban and a beard, speaking in a stereotypical Indian accent.
Included in the “seven sins” is a section on India’s “trampling [of] international law.”
“You may think Doklam is a disputed area, but the truth is that both India and the international community have recognised the place as a part of China according to the 1890 Convention between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet. Didn’t your mama tell you never break the law?” said Wang.
“China has a strong will to solve the problem peacefully with the prerequisite of India’s withdrawal of course. However India is so thick-skinned that it is on the one hand crying for talk but on the other hand refusing to withdraw… Have you ever negotiated with a robber who had just broken into your house and refused to leave? You call 911 or just fight him back right?”
As of Thursday, the video has garnered more than 700 comments on Twitter, with many criticising its “racist” and incendiary content.
One commenter said: “Work on your propaganda. Also English pronunciation. Also don’t dress up a Chinese person as a fake Indian for racist laughs.” Another commenter said: “A country which has land disputes with every other of its neighbours is teaching ‘7 sins of India’. Good joke.”
A blog post on The Indian Express newspaper written by Leela Prasad said that the segment had “crossed every line of decency.”
“The problem is not just with the blithe usage of racial connotations, Xinhua’s TV show host goes on to paint this ‘hairy man’ as a primal invader with scant regard for the rule of the land,” said Prasad. “So far, India’s response to China’s aggressive posturing over the Doklam stand-off has been calm and measured. It must once again choose to ignore this blatant racial profiling from its noisy and nosy neighbour.”