Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Delhi concludes without any progress. Arnab Goswami becomes a tool of Chinese propaganda. Chinascope brings you the stories from China that changed our world this week.
China over the week
As foreign minister Wang Yi’s jet touched the ground in Delhi on Friday, the speculation about his visit finally ended.
The secretive visit, which was allegedly requested by the Chinese side, came as a surprise to many as word went around on potential reset in India-China relations. But it was hard to see how that could happen as both have remained locked in a border stand-off since May 2020.
“China and India do not pose a threat to each other, but provide opportunities for each other’s development, and place differences on the border issue in the proper position of bilateral relations,” Wang Yi said during the meeting with external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Besides meeting Jaishankar, Wang met national security advisor Ajit Doval to discuss the unresolved border dispute.
“We should view each other’s development with a win-win mindset. China welcomes India’s development and revitalisation and supports India in playing a more important role in international affairs. China does not pursue the so-called ‘unipolar Asia’ and respects India’s traditional role in the region. We are willing to explore ‘China-India+’ cooperation in South Asia, build a positive interaction model, and achieve a higher level and wider scope of mutual benefit and win-win results,” Wang said during the meeting with Doval.
Wang Yi invited Doval to visit Beijing to continue the discussion to resolve the border dispute under the Special Representative mechanism.
The visit remained shrouded in mystery, and the Chinese foreign ministry only confirmed Wang’s presence in Delhi after the visit had concluded.
The expert opinion in China suggested Wang’s visit to seek India’s support in the ongoing geopolitical crisis resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.
“The essential purpose of attracting India to join the Quad is to use India to contain and suppress China, and to make India and China lose both sides, it is best to perish together. The Chinese side has made it clear to India that it has no intention of confrontation and conflict with India and is unwilling to fall into the trap of the United States,” said a commentary published in Haina News.
Wang’s visit wasn’t the only thing discussed in China this past week. Arnab Goswami became a major trend on Chinese social media. The trend was based on a clip of Goswami exchanging angry barbs with a US professor.
The hashtag “Indian host angry with American scholar” was viewed 4.7 million times on Weibo.
The clip was even shared by the Weibo account of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League.
“Praise for the host”, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, wrote on his personal Weibo account. On Twitter, Chinese embassies and ambassadors shared the same video and “appreciated” Goswami’s response to the American academic.
The Chinese state media aired Goswami’s remarks because they agree with articulating the US’s alleged “culpability” in the Russia-Ukraine war.
The surge of Covid-19 cases across the city of Shanghai is putting strain on China’s commerce and technology megacity.
The Chinese mainland reported almost 5,000 Covid-19 cases as the omicron variant spread to multiple provinces by Friday. Shanghai had confirmed 38 local Covid cases and 2,231 asymptomatic carriers on Friday.
The local authorities are debating the need to impose a province-wide lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19 in Shanghai. There is little enthusiasm for a lockdown as that would directly impact the city’s economy.
Currently, China’s 31 provinces are battling the Covid surge because of the omicron variant. Provinces such as Liaoning, Tianjin, Henan and Heilongjiang have reported new cases over the past days. Shenyang in Liaoning province has been put under lockdown with its 9 million residents. Parts of Jilin city also remain under a lockdown
The debate over China’s “zero-Covid” policy continues as officials are now concerned about the economic impact of the lockdown.
Australian journalist Cheng Lei was a rising star on the Chinese State media network until her detention in 2020.
Chen is now set to go on a trial in Beijing for “illegally supplying state secrets overseas”. The trial will begin on Thursday at Beijing No 2 People’s Intermediate Court, which will be widely watched outside of China. Cheng was born in China but moved to Australia as a child. Later she returned to China to work for the State-run CCTV News.
China-Australia relations are likely to be strained even further as the trial proceeds.
Also read: What’s behind India’s Ukraine policy, Western hypocrisy & how nations act in self-interest
China in world news
Solomon Islands’ decision to switch ties from Taipei to Beijing was a significant victory for the People’s Republic of China. But now, a leaked document has revealed a pact that would allow Beijing to use the Solomon Islands as a military base.
“Make ship visits, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in the Solomon Islands”, says the draft document leaked on social media.
Australia is worried about the draft agreement because of its proximity to the Solomon Islands.
“Whether or not China will ultimately be able to establish a permanent military base in the Solomon Islands is not yet certain – if anything, this is the first step of many towards such a goal. The leaked document is an early draft, and the Solomon Islands would no doubt seek to narrow the terms of the agreement, walking back some of the commitments that China has proposed,” wrote Mihai Sora, a former Australian diplomat to the Solomon Islands, in The Guardian.
The China-Russia relationship is often characterised by the quip “no-limit partnership”. But Qin Gang, China’s envoy to the US, has said certain limits to the China-Russia ties.
“There is no forbidden zone for cooperation between China and Russia, but there is also a bottom line, which is the tenets and principles established in the UN Charter,” Qin told Phoenix TV in an interview.
Also read: How Russia-Ukraine war is leading to Central Asian nations going hungry
What you must read this week
Where Is the Red Line on China’s Internet? — Kathy Huang
The worse things go for Putin in Ukraine, the more China will back him — Jude Blanchette
Experts this week
“Although India wants to maintain its strategic autonomy, under the current situation, its room for flexible movement between the United States and Russia is getting smaller and smaller. If this tension between the United States and Russia continues, its strategic flexibility will also be increasingly limited. At present, India’s strategic bottom line on the issue of the US-Russian balance is not to stand in line,” said Liu Zongyi, Secretary-General, Center for China and South Asia Studies, Shanghai Institute for International Studies during an interview with Guancha.
The competition between the US and China has been called the “new Cold War”. Others don’t like the comparison. Sushant Singh of the Center for Policy Research spoke with Arne Westad, a scholar of modern China and the Elihu Professor of History at Yale University, about the trajectory of India-China relations and the geopolitical context shaping it. Chinascope recommends listening to the conversation.
The author is a columnist and a freelance journalist, currently pursuing an MSc in international politics with focus on China from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He was previously a China media journalist at the BBC World Service. He tweets @aadilbrar. Views are personal.
This is a weekly round-up that Aadil Brar writes about what’s buzzing in China. This will soon be available as a subscribers’-only product.