A day after the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi objected to Indian media reporting on ‘National Day of Taiwan’, the Ministry of External Affairs reminded the Chinese that Indian media is a “free” entity and they can report on any issue they deem “fit”.
“There is a free media in India and reports as it sees fit,” Anurag Srivastava, MEA spokesperson, told the media during the weekly briefing on Thursday.
China on Wednesday had issued a series of guidelines for the Indian media for coverage of the national day of Taiwan, observed on October 10. The embassy told the Indian media that all countries having diplomatic ties with Beijing should “firmly honour their commitment to the One-China policy”.
The unprecedented move followed full-page advertisements issued by the Taiwan government in Indian newspapers ahead of the national day.
A letter sent out by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi referred to the “so-called forthcoming ‘National Day of Taiwan’” and said it “would like to remind our media friends that there is only one China in the world, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China”.
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory...All countries that have diplomatic relations with China should firmly honour their commitment to the One-China policy, which is also the long-standing official position of the Indian government,” the letter said.
“We hope Indian media can stick to Indian government’s position on the Taiwan question and do not violate the One-China principle. In particular, Taiwan shall not be referred to as a ‘country (nation)’ or ‘Republic of China’ or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as ‘President’, so as not to send the wrong signals to the general public,” the letter further said.
The Chinese embassy said it “appreciates the good faith and efforts by friends from the media”, and was “willing to maintain communication with media friends on China-related reports”.
Meanwhile, in response to the Chinese diktat, the foreign ministry of Taiwan in a tweet signed off by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told China that Taiwan’s Indian friends would ask Beijing to “get lost”. “#India is the largest democracy on Earth with a vibrant press & freedom-loving people. But it looks like communist #China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship. #Taiwan's Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST! JW,” read the tweet.