I have witnessed with dismay China’s aggressive and strategic investment in intellectuals and opinion makers around the world to doctor its global image. The wooing process starts with lavish receptions and orchestrated visits to regions under Chinese control, including Tibet; from then on the patronage continues. The dividends are obvious from the rising number of pro-China intellectuals and the biased Chinese propaganda being churned out on a regular basis in both the Indian and Western press.
China’s desire for global dominance is most visible in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative – a global China-centric development strategy proposed in 2013 and targeted for completion in 2049, touching 152 countries and international organizations in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
This image of China as a global power needs to be juxtaposed with the growing dissent within. China’s enforcement of its doctrines with absolute disrespect for ethnic identity and human rights is responsible for the increasing tension and defiance in Xinjiang and Tibet. In the case of Hong Kong, it is particularly due to the gradual erosion of China’s ‘One country, two systems’ commitment.