BEIJING: China on Thursday dismissed reports that claimed Beijing’s polices on Pakistan had changed because the state media had telecast a National Geographic documentary series’ episode on the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people and left over 300 injured.
Dubbed in Chinese, the episode from the documentary, ‘Seconds from Disaster: Mumbai Massacre’ showed available television footage of the attack and voice-overs talking about the alleged involvement of Pakistanbased terror groups in the coordinated multiple assaults.
The telecast prompted reports from Hong Kong and Beijing that China had apparently publicly acknowledged the role of Pakistan — its all-weather ally — in the attack for the first time.
On Friday, the ministry said there was no change in its policies, dismissing the reports.
Government spokesperson Hong Lei said after doing a background check, the ministry had found the documentary was a “Chinese-dubbed American documentary”.
“What it said does not represent the position of the Chinese government. China’s position on the issue of counter-terrorism remains unchanged,” Hong said.
Hong did not mention Pakistan in his statement but made it clear there was no connection between its policies and assertions made in the documentary.
“On November 26, 2008, terrorists attacked two luxury hotels (one of them the famous Taj Mahal Hotel), a Jewish educational center, a café and a train station in Mumbai, killing 166 people. They also placed pipe bombs in two taxis, which killed the drivers while driving to a hotel,” an introduction to the documentary says.
Five other episodes on other incidents were also telecast on Chinese state television, including two on the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and oil spill.
Officially, China says it is against all forms of terrorism and will internationally cooperation in counter-terrorism.
China is among Pakistan’s closest economic, strategic and military ally.
For one, the $46-billion ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a high-profile part of President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and road initiative’ connecting China’s Xinjiang to Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
China incidentally had earlier blocked India’s attempt to get a UN ban on LeT commander Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack.
And in March, Beijing again put a technical hold on New Delhi’s bid to get the UN to ban Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar, accused of masterminding the Pathankot terrorist attack.