CHINA’S OFFICIAL news agency Xinhua is learnt to have admitted to the Indian government that two of its journalists had committed “transgression” by visiting Tibetan settlements in Karnataka.
Confirming this Monday, sources said Chinese embassy officials met officials in the Ministry of External Affairs and have decided to normalise relationship.
This comes on a day when a Chinese state-run daily warned of “serious consequences” if this was a fallout of Beijing’s refusal to back New Delhi’s NSG membership bid.
Taking umbrage at India’s refusal to extend visas to three Chinese journalists, an editorial in China’s Global Times newspaper said: “Speculation is swirling that India is taking revenge against China for the latter’s opposition to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). If New Delhi is really taking revenge due to the NSG membership issue, there will be serious consequences.”
Sources said two Mumbai-based Chinese journalists — Lu Tang and She Yonggang — had visited Tibetan settlements last year without permission and it came under the scanner of Indian intelligence agencies. Consequently, as Xinhua’s Delhi bureau chief Wu Qiang’s visa expired on December 31, he was given a month’s extension each for the last seven months.
When the visa of the two Mumbai-based journalists expired in March this year, the government did not extend it. The two, sources said, took the plea that they were waiting for their replacements to be sent from China.
“All these months, these two journalists were without a visa,” a source said. With no sign of their replacements arriving soon, a decision was taken to ask them to leave by July 31. In mid-July, they were given visa till July 31 so that they could leave.
“No official reason was given for the rejection of the visa renewals. Some Indian media claimed that the three journalists are suspected of impersonating other people to access several restricted departments in Delhi and Mumbai with fake names. There were also reports attributing it to the journalists’ meeting with exiled Tibetan activists,” the Global Times said.
Sources maintained that the three Chinese journalists are being “expelled”, as their visa had already expired and they were staying here on extension.
A government official, however, said that India was not expelling the journalists. “Xinhua is welcome to post new correspondents in Delhi,” the source said.