Indian authorities have rejected visa extension requests for three reporters from Xinhua, China’s biggest and most influential news agency, leading to some harsh words on the part of the Chinese press.
Wu Qiang, Xinhua’s New Delhi bureau editor in chief; Tag Lu, Xinhua’s Mumbai bureau editor in chief; and She Yonggang, a Xinhua reporter in Mumbai have all been “asked” to leave the country before July 31st. Wu has been working in India for seven years already while the other two have only been in the country for a year.
While no official reason has been given, anonymous sources revealed to the Hindustan Times that the three reporters had managed to catch Indian security agencies attention by engaging in activities that went beyond their journalistic duties.
However, this doesn’t mean the end of Xinhua in India. Sources say that the ban does not apply to the news agency as a whole and Xinhua is welcome to send in replacement reporters.
The fact that the Indian government failed to issue an official reason why the journalists are being expelled has led to much speculation. A source from the Ministry of Home Affairs reported that the three reporters had visited Bangalore and met with exiled Tibetan activists, The Hindu reports. This controversial meeting could have been the reason that the Indian government denied visas for the three.
Furthermore, the expulsion comes shortly after Beijing blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an exclusive group of 48 countries that controls global trade in nuclear technology. After nearly a decade of lobbying, India hoped to finally get into the elite club at a meeting in Seoul last month. Instead, its ambitions were thwarted, mostly by the vocal opposition of China. The Global Times has already authored an editorial calling India’s alleged method of payback “petty.”
The editorial asserts that the expulsion of the Xinhua reporters is simply India’s way of getting revenge. It goes on to warn about “serious consequences” between the two countries if this decision stands.
This kind of passive aggression seems to be business as usual for the two countries. Back in April, India granted a visa to exiled Uighur leader Dolkun Isa to attend a conference with other anti-Beijing activists in the Dalai Lama’s adopted hometown of Dharamsala. Just before the conference was about to begin, New Delhi thought better of the idea and canceled Isa’s visa. It is thought that granting him a visa in the first place was likely a retaliatory measure from India after China blocked the listing of Masood Azhar, leader of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Muhammed, as an international terrorist at the UN.
Of course, China itself is infamous for denying visas to foreign journalists and news organizations that it isn’t fond of. Apparently, India felt it was about time to give Beijing a taste of its own medicine and appears to be sticking to its decision for the time being.
By Sarah Lin