Wednesday’s gratuitous advice by a press official of the Chinese embassy that asked the Indian media to stay away from the Tibet issue lest it further damages the bilateral relations is not surprising.
Just two days before the Galwan flare-up on June 15, another junior official posted in Chinese embassy in Pakistan tweeted an article written by a Chinese expert linking the Ladakh stand-off to so-called Indian moves to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
The author, a deputy director in a think-tank linked to the Chinese intelligence, virtually endorsed Pakistan’s position on Kashmir and Article 370, by calling the Indian move “unilateral.”
To their credit, Chinese embassy officials have no qualms in contradicting either the Indian media or the Indian government by ferociously defending political positions of Beijing, be it Tibet, Xinjiang, Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh.
It was not so long ago that a Chinese diplomat publicly contradicted the then defence minister of India Pranab Mukherjee on the 1962 war at a Mumbai conference.
In her statement on Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy official has quoted a 2003 bilateral document to remind Indian media that New Delhi had recognised the Tibet Autonomous Region as part of Chinese territory and decided not to allow Tibetans to engage in political activities against China. The quoted document is “Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation between the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China” signed on June 23, 2003.
What the official missed was that just two paragraphs before the bilateral commitment on Tibet, the 2003 document refers to the boundary question.