Wion has got mail. It’s from China. And it doesn’t say anything new.
The letter written by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi to Wion’s Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary shows how rattled Beijing is.
The trigger was an interview with the foreign minister of Taiwan, Dr Joseph Wu.
Also read | China dictates terms to Indian press, protests WION’s interview with Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu – see letter inside
In “retaliation” to this letter, Wion got a protest letter from China on Thursday night.
And this is not the first time China has reacted like this.
To top it, a protest letter is rare, and an escalation. That too — against a specific broadcaster.
The letter is a five-page long response to a 30-minute interview.
In the lettter, China has accused Wion of “seriously violating the one-China principle”. The letter also says the People’s Republic of China is the true representative of Taiwan, and that the Chinese want Wion to stop giving a platform to Taiwan.
The said one-China principle keeps coming up in China’s letter to us, and its rhetoric in general.
China wants the world to respect its sovereignty, but it violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India repeatedly.
This year, it claimed the entire Galwan valley. Chinese troops have been engaged in a military faceoff with India for months now.
They want to claim Indian land in Ladakh.
In 2019, China slammed India’s Kashmir decision, accusing India of acting unilaterally. Because it controls Aksai Chin.
In September this year, China provoked India again by claiming the entire Arunachal Pradesh. They call it a part of China’s South Tibet region.
Additionally, China protests when India builds roads and infrastructure on the Indian side of the border.
China invests in projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in clear violation of India’s territorial sovereignty.
In short, when China doesn’t respect the one-India principle, how does it expect India and Indians to uphold the one-China principle?
In its arguments, China hides behind the United Nations. It says the UN recognises that Taiwan is Chinese territory. It says the UN adopted a resolution and accepted the one China stand.
And so, there is no way Taiwan can independently join the UN.
Also, China, as a pemanent member of the Security Council, won’t let Taiwan join.
So the problem is with the UN’s systems, not with Taiwan.
China is now harping on this one point, because the world has now begun treating Taiwan as a independent country. And the more China tells the world that Taiwan is not independent the more support Taiwan gets.
Beijing’s ‘one-China’ rhetoric is, in a way, backfiring.
Taiwan has managed to establish a distinct identity of its own, and unlike Beijing, it’s a democracy. Its leaders are appointed through an election.
It has vibrant economic and cultural ties with the world. This month only Taiwan celebrated its national day.
Instead of marking Taiwan’s independence, the celebration commemorated a 1911 uprising.
Taiwan has also redesigned its passport with the word “Taiwan” was made more prominent on its cover.
During the above-mentioned interview, Taiwan’s foreign minister expressed willingness to testify against China. That statement seems to have ratted Beijing.
This paragraph is from page three of the Chinese statement — “China did not cover up anything” and “China did not delay any efforts”.
Beijing has been saying this for a while now.
The last line sayd, “The DPP authorities have no locus standi to claim taking part in so-called international investigation to hold China accountable.”
This investigation is a WHO probe that China agreed to, back in May. Now it is openly discrediting the probe.
Taiwan notably gave the first warning about about human to human transmission in December, 2019.
And China wants to deny Taiwan a voice at the WHO. And it wants us to deny Taiwan a platform.
Wion’s interview with Dr Joseph Wu has been widely quoted and carried by the press in Taiwan.
It has been reported in domestic and international publications.
The Taiwanese foreign minister issued a response to the Chinese statement today.
He said, “Once again, China’s diplomats try to muzzle India’s free press. Taiwan is a democratic country and force for good in the world that won’t be silenced.”
In a nutshell, China has banned Wion in the mainland; Chinese diplomats have blocked us on social media; and the Chinese embassy in New Delhi often criticises our coverage, calling Wion “some media.”
And now they have directly written to Wion.
Unfortunately for China, India has a free press, and respecting sovereignty is a two-way street.