Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian created a flutter on Friday by tweeting an official media commentary blaming the British colonialists for injecting the “poison of hatred” into Kashmir’s body politic under its “notorious” ‘divide and rule’ policy.
Interestingly, the article ‘Kashmir: A Crack in the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire’ by state-run Xinhua news agency was published amidst growing tensions between Beijing and London over a number of issues, including Hong Kong and human rights.
“If British India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, then Kashmir has been the biggest crack in it when the crown finally fell over on that land,” Zhao said in a series of tweets, quoting from a recent Xinhua commentary.
“The British Empire fell, but the poison of hatred has been injected into the body politic of two peoples for decades to come,” Zhao, who previously worked as China’s Deputy Ambassador to Pakistan before taking over as a spokesman of the foreign ministry, tweeted.
“The land once as pristine as its famous Kashmir Sapphires was carved by innumerable scars, cracked by the greed of imperialists and soaked by the tears of people in fear,” he tweeted from the article.
China’s official position on the Kashmir issue as articulated by the Chinese Foreign Ministry is that “it is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan.”
“It should be resolved peacefully and properly according to the UN charter, relevant security council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” Chinese officials have said previously.
The Xinhua article noted that, “Tragedy was planted when the British Empire attempted to consolidate their rule and prevent the emergence of the Indian independence movement by applying the same notorious plot that has claimed millions of lives not only in India but also on the vast lands of Africa, Middle East and Asia. The plot is named “divide and rule”.
“The imperial past is far from being dead. We should not be surprised when British foreign policy interests and interventions today are perceived by many as “neo-colonial” in their nature,” it said.
“As long as the bloodshed in Kashmir continues, Britain can never clean itself from its bloody colonial past”, Zhao, who is also the Deputy Director General of the Information Department of the foreign ministry, tweeted from the article, amidst China’s diplomatic and propaganda blitzkrieg against the UK and the US following strained relations over a host of issues.
China’s relations with the UK deteriorated especially after London took a strong stand against Beijing’s move to pass the controversial Hong Kong national security law last year to take firm control over the former British colony.
Zhao, a self-proclaimed admirer of Pakistan, who in his official briefings stated “Cheen-Pakistan Dosti Zindabad” while replying to questions on relations between the all-weather allies, is known for courting controversies.
Dubbed as part of China’s new band of “wolf warrior” diplomats, Zhao’s tweet last year alleging US Army may have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan created furore and the Chinese Foreign Ministry later distanced itself.
His yet another tweet showing the picture of an Australian soldier apparently holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child, also created a furore as the Australian government said the image was doctored.