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China communist party website says Arunachal is state in India, drops story

The article on People’s Daily’s English portal could not be accessed anymore.

world Updated: Aug 06, 2018 17:02 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Arunachal Pradesh,China,Communist Party of China
A statue of former Chinese chairman Mao Zedong is seen in front of a residential building in Dandong New Zone, Liaoning province, China on June 12, 2018. (REUTERS)

A leading news portal controlled by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) has withdrawn an article that said Arunachal Pradesh was a “state” in India and not part of south Tibet, as is officially claimed in China.

It was mentioned in an article written by an Indian journalist who is visiting Beijing on a Chinese government fellowship. The article titled ‘India’s old age population hits all time high since independence’, was carried by the CPC mouthpiece, People’s Daily’s English portal, en.people.cn.

“The state with the least old age people is Arunachal Pradesh, with only 4.6 per cent of its population above the age of 60. It is followed by Meghalaya at 4.7 per cent,” said the article posted on the website on August 3.

Hindustan Times had tweeted about the marked departure in the narrative of the tightly-controlled state media in China. Less than a day later, the article could not be accessed anymore; a click on existing links to the article showed an “error” message.

It had triggered some speculation online whether it was an inadvertent error on the part of the editorial team of the news portal.

China has never acknowledged the existence of Arunachal Pradesh, maintaining that it is a disputed region and part of southern Tibet.

“First of all on the border issue our position is clear and consistent. We never acknowledged the existence of so called Arunachal Pradesh,” Geng Shuang, ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) spokesperson had told a media briefing earlier this year.

In February, Beijing strongly criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and warned of lodging a diplomatic protest.

The MFA had then China does not recognise “so-called Arunachal Pradesh” and India should not complicate the festering boundary row.

“The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the disputed area,” Geng was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

Last November, China had similarly criticised President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to the state, saying China-India relations were at a “crucial moment” and New Delhi should not complicate the dispute.

Xinhua had then described Arunachal as being illegally established in areas of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 16:57 IST