Doklam: How Chinese State Media Spreads Lies On Bhutanese Position


On June 29, the Bhutanese government stated categorically in a press release that construction of the road in the Doklam area by the Chinese military is inside Bhutanese territory. This is what the Bhutanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017.”

Yet there is no end to China’s campaign of lies and misrepresentation on the Bhutanese position.

Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet, has claimed that India is continuously pressuring Bhutan to openly take India’s side, but Bhutan is passively resisting India’s efforts. And this has embarrassed New Delhi. An editorial in Global Times begins with this lie and goes on to build a thesis of falsehood on its basis—despite the fact that the above-quoted press release can still be read on the website of the Bhutanese foreign ministry.

It cites a recent propaganda mission of the Chinese government when it invited Indian journalists to make its position clear on Doklam. “A few days ago, a Chinese diplomat told a visiting Indian media delegation that Bhutan had conveyed to China through diplomatic channels that the area of the standoff is not its territory,” says the Global Times editorial.

Global Times editors can easily go to the Bhutanese government website and read the official statement. But that’s not how propaganda works.

Since no one will buy the Chinese propaganda outside China, the editorial might be meant to keep the Chinese public in the dark about the real situation. After lying about the Bhutanese position, the editorial says, “Due to the fact that Indian troops crossed into Chinese territory on the ground to “protect Bhutan,” Thimpu’s stance is catastrophic for India.”

There could be another reason behind this propaganda. By invading Doklam, China has bitten off more than it can chew so now it is trying various ways to wriggle out. India has ignored China’s bullying. China hopes at least Bhutan might bend to its threats and change its position.

The editorial claims, “Bhutan obviously wants to remain neutral in the standoff. It does not appear like a country that had been “invaded” by China and desperately wants India’s protection. India is bullying Bhutan and its fabricated excuses are groundless in front of international laws.” This is how, in a matter of a few paragraphs, the editorial weaves a net of lies and misrepresentation.

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