With India maintaining its stand that troop withdrawal at Doklam was mutual, the Chinese media, however, do not appear to share the same view.
The Chinese media — a majority of them are state-owned — seemed to have consciously avoided making any references to China also pulling back its troops from the Bhutan trijunction.
Even the country’s foreign ministry echoed the same sentiment, underling that all of India’s “trespassing personnel and equipment” have been pulled back to the Indian side of the boundary.
“The Chinese personnel on the ground has verified this,” it added.
Take China’s Global Times for instance. The newspaper has been quite vocal in its editorials on the Doklam standoff, accusing India of violating China’s sovereignty. The paper’s editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, went on to give unsolicited advice that India has been underestimating the ‘military might’ of the People’s Liberation Army. He said the PLA enjoys an “overwhelming advantage” over India, in case the stand-off escalates to a conflict.
Even today, a day after the troop withdrawal, there was no change in its tone. It even suggested that China’s military drills in Tibet resulted in “India’s withdrawal”.
“China used a series of actions, including diplomatic engagement and military drills, to pressure India and eventually gained the result with India’s withdrawal,” a report on globaltimes.cn said.
The report also carried a quote of an expert who said pulling back its troops was India’s only option. “India’s behavior was absolutely illegal and excuses, like Bhutan’s request and China’s road construction, that it used to legitimize its behavior have proven ineffective as well. That’s why it chose to withdraw at this moment, and it was the only option for India,” Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, told globaltimes.cn.
And a quote from the Ministry of National Defense spokesperson, Wu Qian, read: “India should draw some lessons from this incident and firmly adhere to the historical boundary and the basic principles of international law.”
Meanwhile, the state-run People’s Daily ran a story with a measured headline saying the Doklam stand-off was peacefully resolved through diplomatic efforts. The article text, however, toes the communist government’s line. “About two months ago, the Indian military trespass grossly encroached on China’s territorial sovereignty, and trampled on the fundamental principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations.
Now the withdrawal of Indian troops has laid a foundation for the further development of the China-India relation. It is good to see that the two countries have solved the conflict peacefully,” it read.