The English version of Global Times published more than 80 opinion pieces on India this year. The newspaper, however, brushed aside any bias against India. “As the two countries become increasingly interdependent, there is more coverage of India in Chinese media than before, and we have noticed the same on Indian media,” said Li Hongwei, Global Times’ managing editor, in an exclusive interview with HT.
Q: Does Global Times follow any policy in sanctioning or publishing opinion pieces on India?
A: The Global Times does not sanction or publish commentaries on India or any other country. Our staff pick the brains of experts and observers about India and then develop their own perspectives on a certain matter.
Q: It is the perception among those who follow Global Times that most India-related articles it publishes are anti-India. Is that a correct perception?
A: No, it is not a correct perception. It is an illusion. The Global Times has published many commentaries in support of closer cooperation between China and India, as in the case of the Goa (BRICS) Summit. What you perceive to be anti-India is perhaps, sometimes, simply a reaction to anti-China mobilisations. For example, the recent boycott against Chinese products. It’s also unfair to conclude that any critical commentary is anti-India.
Q: It is also the perception that since Global Times is affiliated to the People’s Daily, the opinion pieces it carries are an indication of what the government is thinking. Is that correct?
A: No. The Global Times is a market-oriented media outlet despite its status as a state-owned newspaper. Opinions published in the Global Times run the gamut of all political inclinations. While government thinking is interpreted by the Global Times through our reports and commentaries, opinions and perspectives from the private sector, the grassroots and expat communities can also be found in the paper. We publish the commentaries of foreign diplomats as well.
Q: Do newspapers, especially through editorials and opinion pieces, have a role in improving and preserving bilateral ties between countries?
A: The media has a role in reflecting what people on all sides of the social and political spectrum think, be they domestic affairs and Sino-Indian relations. With a certain level of candor and transparency, the media can help improve and preserve bilateral ties. Journalists, however, are not diplomats, and they cannot speak the same language.
Q: How do you see the state of media ties between China and India? Is it a reflection of diplomatic ties?
A: There are frequent exchanges between Chinese and Indian media. We pay close attention to each other’s country every day. It reflects our diplomatic ties. As the two countries become increasingly interdependent, there is more coverage of India on Chinese media than before, and we have noticed the same on Indian media