Analysis

China rattled by ‘boycott China’ campaign launched by Ladakhis, echoed by rest of India

Articles in Chinese media urge India to not conflate border, trade issues

China rattled by ‘boycott China’ campaign launched by Ladakhis, echoed by rest of India

Image only for representational purposes

Arun Joshi
Jammu, June 18

China is rattled by the “boycott” Chinese products campaign in India, which had began with prominent Ladakhi voices in the middle of the stand-off in eastern Ladakh, but has now cascaded into a wave of national anger after the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on Monday.

These voices had started from Ladakh where a prominent environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk was the first to call for the boycott of Chinese products. He had started the slogans: ‘Boycott China', 'Boycott Made in China', 'Anywhere but China’ which is now finding an echo all across the country.

There is a deluge of articles and comments in the Chinese media on Beijing’s worry over the 'boycott China' campaign. These articles have advised, suggested and requested Indians not to resort to this ‘extreme step’. There is a constant reminder to Indians that their relations with China have progressed through centuries.

Also read: (From The Tribune archives) Why India and China went to war in 1962

The worry for Beijing has increased as Indians have started cancelling their bookings with the companies allied with Chinese counterparts. This sentiment among Indians has grown as body bags and the graphic description of the violent clashes—with rocks and batons wrapped with barbed wire—has injured their national pride.

Liu Xiaoxue, an associate research fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, wrote in Global Times, the mouthpiece of China’s all-powerful Communist Party,"While assessing the new tensions at the border, India should understand that China’s restraint is not weak." 

The author reminds India of the pandemic-imposed stresses on the global economy and the greater vulnerability of the developing countries like India as he writes: “If border tensions escalate and adverse factors increase, investment may withdraw.”

A grim picture of India is painted by reading the pandemic-infected nations’ table in the article titled ‘India should curb ‘boycott China’ voices after border clash’. The article says: “India currently has the fourth most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, but it is not continuing its lockdown. That shows its economy is facing great pressure - particularly when it comes to the country’s large number of people living in poverty. Many face an immediate threat to survival if they lose their jobs during the lockdown.”

There is clear hypocrisy in the Chinese strategic thinking, as it is reluctant to settle the border issue in Ladakh, where the sentiments have flared up, and at the same time does not want India to take any economic action against it.

 

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