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Chinese citizens, companies face backlash in India, warns China media amid Sikkim standoff

As India and China face-off along the border in Sikkim, the Global Times has said Chinese companies and citizens could face violent attacks in India.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2017 20:33 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
A photograph from July 10, 2008, shows a Chinese soldier (left) and an Indian soldier standing guard at the Chinese side of the Nathu La border crossing between India and China. (AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese citizens and companies face possible “violent attacks” in India amid rising tension between the two countries over a military standoff in Sikkim, the Chinese media warned on Wednesday.

There was also a possibility of a slowdown in Chinese investments in India, the state-run Global Times said in a write-up that weighed the potential fallout of the border face-off.

“Violent attacks against Chinese personnel and companies may happen in India if the two countries see even small-scale military tension at the border,” the article said.

“Many people believe Indian nationalism led to the country’s independence from British rule decades ago but now it is gradually evolving into an internal factor behind the anti-Chinese sentiment, which is fuelled by ethnic and religious factors.”

The warning came one a day the nationalistic Global Times published an editorial saying India will be “kicked” out from the disputed area and will suffer “greater losses” than it did during the 1962 war.

The number of Chinese tourists to India is not very high, official data show. In April, 2.95% out of 7.4 lakh foreign visitors to India were from China.

However, Chinese investments in India have risen substantially over the years -- the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) last year estimated that total FDI from China between April 2000 and December 2016 was $1.6 billion.

There are pockets of Chinese-origin people in India, including Kolkata and Assam. Some of them had faced backlash during the 1962 war with China.

The Global Times recalled how nationalistic sentiments were ignited in India last year by the Shiv Sena whose “activists openly burnt the Chinese flag on the streets, according to media reports, after India failed to gain entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) due to alleged opposition by China.”

“Compared to the NSG membership, India’s territorial issues can much more easily stir up local people’s nationalistic feelings,” it added.

The tabloid warned Chinese firms in the retail and consumer electronics industries to take precautions against “…possible boycotts and should strive to ensure the personal safety of Chinese workers if there is an escalation in tensions between the two countries.”

“Although India is a potential market, would-be investors from China should perhaps take a wait-and-see approach. In this context, new investment from China into India is likely to be reduced,” it added.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 11:32 IST