China Riles India with ‘Racist’ Video over Tense Border Standoff

Tensions between China and India over a border area disputed with Bhutan along the Himalayan mountains have reached a new peak after the Chinese state media released a video mocking India’s stance with “racist undertones.” 

China state-controlled news agency Xinhua published a video on its English-language YouTube channel under the title “7 Sins of India,” an apparent attempt to ridicule India’s stance on the ongoing border standoff while advertising China’s position to a foreign audience.

The video is the latest installment of a recently-launched web show called “The Spark,” which aims to discuss news items with an irreverent tone. Running for just over three minutes, the video published Monday criticizes India’s actions in seven points: “trespassing, violating a bilateral convention, trampling international law, confusing right and wrong, putting the blame on the victim, hijacking a small neighbor and sticking to a mistake knowingly.”

The video also featured an actor wearing a turban, aviator sunglasses and a curly fake beard, who was purportedly impersonating India, tilting his head as he spoke with a caricatural Indian accent, and at one point intimidating another actor, representing Bhutan, with a pair of scissors.  

The video was labeled as “racist” in the Indian press and among social media users. The newspaper Hindustan Times labeled the video as having “racist overtones.” The Financial Express called it a “bizarre racist propaganda video.”

The standoff began in June, when Indian troops obstructed Chian’s road construction works on the plateau known as Doklam in India and Donglang in China.

China considered the presence and permanence of the Indian troops in the area as an illegal crossing into Chinese territory. India said it acted along with the Bhutanese government, in accordance with a treaty between the two countries, as it considers the road construction a change in the status quo with “serious security implications.”

The road would be built in proximity to a thin strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor or “chicken’s neck,” a strategic point of connection between New Delhi and the northeastern Indian states.

China claims the road construction is in line with its “indisputable sovereignty” over the area citing a 1890 border convention signed between Great Britain and the Qing dynasty. Bhutan instead claims the road construction violates former agreements with Beijing about maintaining the status quo in the unmarked border between the two countries.

In July, China held live-fire drills in the border area and later announced it would  step up troops’ deployment and military drills, ramping up tensions with India, whose border with China is 2,175 miles long and plagued by a history of disputes including a brief war in 1962.

The possibility of a new military confrontation has been mentioned in recent combative articles published in the Chinese state-media outlet Global Times.

At a daily press conference Thursday, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that India pulling out “all the personnel and equipment that have illegally crossed the boundary” is “the basis and prerequisite for the settlement of this incident.” 

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