Blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng’s Case: Views from China and India

Blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng’s Case: Views from China and India

Earlier this month, Washington was riveted by the escape of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng to the US Embassy in Beijing and the intense US-China negotiations that ensued. In this Policy Alert, we highlight how the Chinese press has covered and commented on these events, and note some contrasting reactions from India.

CHINA

Significant coverage and commentary in the officially sanctioned Chinese media portrayed Chen Guangchen in a very different light from Western media accounts.

On China-US relations, the China Daily echoed the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s stance that the US had violated international law and should apologize, but also cast Chen as a “one-man show” who was “just a distraction.”Regarding the concurrent Strategic Dialogue with the US, editorials stressed the problem of strategic mistrust between the two nations:

INDIA

Indian coverage of Chen Chuangchen drew mostly from Western news agencies and media organizations such as the New York Times, though there was some domestic commentary:

  • Sreeram Sundar Chaulia, professor at the Jindal School of International Affairs, wrote in the Times of India that “A country which spends more on internal surveillance than on its military defence, and which has the largest number of political prisoners in the world has a lot to hide…The saga of Chen Guangcheng is thus not only a prickly issue in the US-China diplomatic relations but also a mirror of the distortions and myths imposed on Chinese society under a long spell of dictatorship.”
  • An article in the Hindustan Times drew attention to  several other imprisoned dissidents in China, and noted that “as the leadership of the Communist Party of China gears up for a once-in-a-decade change of leadership this autumn, the government seems to be increasingly sensitive towards critical opinion.”
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