(TibetanReview.net, Jul26, 2016) – China’s official media has on Jul 24 condemned India for what it said was a petty act after the latter refused to give further visa extension to three senior Chinese journalists who were thereby forced to leave the country by July end. Referring to various speculations in the foreign media on the actual reasons for the Indian action, China’s international party mouthpiece globaltimes.com Jul 24 warned in an editorial comment that if New Delhi was really taking revenge due to the NSG (ie, Nuclear Suppliers Group) membership issue, there will be serious consequences.
The “expelled” journalists included Wu Qiang, Delhi bureau chief of China’s official Xinhua news agency, and Tang Lu, the agency’s chief correspondent at the Mumbai bureau. The third journalist, She Yonggang, is a reporter based in Mumbai.
India’s official explanation was that the three had overstayed their visas and had been given several extensions pending the arrival of their replacements which never happened.
However, apart from reprisal for China’s playing of leading role in denying India’s application for membership of the NSG, Indian media reports also speculated that the three Chinese journalists had to go because they were subjects of adverse reports from intelligence agencies after they met with Tibetan activists in Bengaluru.
The editorial cited Lü Pengfei, former India-based special correspondent with the Global Times, as saying it was completely normal for Chinese reporters to request interviews with the Dalai Lama group without taking recourse to subterfuge.
A globaltimes.cn report on Jul 25 quoted Lü Pengfei as saying: “I have frequently met exiled Tibetan activists through intermediaries, and even spoke to the Dalai Lama. I should have been expelled several times if that was the reason the Indian government gave. It was very likely an act of revenge against China for denying India membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”
In any case, the editorial continued, it was not a good thing that India had turned down Chinese reporters’ applications for new visas. “The act has sent negative messages and media communications between China and India will inevitably be negatively impacted,” it added.
While the editorial felt that China should stick to a friendly strategy toward India, “as we believe bilateral friendship is in the interests of India as well”, “on the visa issue this time, we should take actions to display our reaction.”