EXCERPT | Promoting Mutual Understanding for a Better Future of China – India Relations

EXCERPT | Promoting Mutual Understanding for a Better Future of China – India Relations

By Deqiang Ji, Zhengrong Hu, and Yousaf Muhammad
Communication University of China, P.R. China

Image Attribute: The Kashmir Telegraph

Despite the multidimensional differences, and obviously deep-rooted stereotypes, between Chinese and Indian societies, a better mutual understanding could be achieved through the promotion of a better mediated or non-mediated communication process. Based on the findings of this article, the researchers suggest that at least from China’s side, three further steps are expected to be taken for relevant groups, organizations, or just individuals.

At the international level, the “Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence” should be revitalized by the Chinese government, rather than holding a “zero-sum” competing logic with its biggest neighbor. The solidarity of the Global South is the key to building a new global order to reorient the neoliberal uneven development and challenge the Western political–economic domination and cultural hegemony.

The reconfiguration of global political and economic power also presses China to re-evaluate the position of India in its diplomacy and soft power building. A new world order is in the formulation, in which the BRICS countries are eager to challenge the dominant position of those Western countries. The pursuit of being “the dominant among dominants” by these emerging economies is a certain future to predict if the entire hierarchical structure driven by global capitalist market relations—or in other words the “world system” characterized by the center-periphery’s “accumulation by dispossession”—does not change in essence. The reception of India in China lies on the recognition of the world system and its separate ties with the core countries. In the course of upward mobility on a world stage, both China and India are required to work hand in hand, at least symbolically, to get a greater space for their own respective development, let alone the shared long history of anti-colonialism. For example, India was reported to defend the interests of developing countries by strongly requiring that developed countries should take the lead in reducing carbon emission (Wang, 2014). From China’s side, India’s support to be the official member of China launched Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a signal for this new wave of regional and geopolitical grouping. However, on the other hand, the global capitalist logic of economic growth is re-configuring the market relations between China and India and between these two manufacturing based economies and the rest of the world. In a narrow sense of economics, the demographic “comparative advantages” are flowing in between, mainly from China to India. Despite various problems and obstacles still existing, Li (2013) pointed out that - 

China is coming to realize that a big power may also be a neighbor, and India’s importance is elevated with such a shift in focus. To China, India is not simply one target in a renewed charm offensive on its neighbors, but also a vital part of BRICS that China sees as a new force capable of challenging existing international institutions dominated by Western powers.

It is, therefore, important to recognize the potentials for both China and India working together in shaping the world’s political and economic order. However, the dynamics of the world process also opens space for regional connections and mutual understanding. By forming a theory of “asymmetrical interdependence,” Arjun Appadurai (Straubhaar, 2010) argued that “the process of globalization is not necessarily and primarily driven by economic forces, but is full of dynamism in terms of the scopes of financial, technological, ethno/migration, media and ideological interactions with separate and inconsistent logics.” In this context, China and India are in complex and dynamic relations with the core countries, with each other and with other less developed nations. Relevant studies should take account of this notion of asymmetrical globalization.

At the professional level, particularly for news media and journalists, more first-hand experiences are required to understand each country’s social complexity and to develop the narrative accordingly. More contacts may lead to a deeper and broader view toward each other. It is evident that Indian universities and think tanks are establishing more research centers or projects targeting China, the Chinese counterpart should also get into action for not only practical goals of politics and economy but also the updating of the knowledge system about its neighbor.

At the epistemological level, Chakrabarty (2007)’s critical claim of “Provincializing Europe” and Zhao’s suggestion of “Looking East, Going South” (2010) are still of great significance for both India and China to demystify the European or Western origin and approach of modernity. The dynamics of modernization process, in both China and India, although full of contestations and conflicts, deserves contextual understanding through a lens of what we called “local knowledge.”

Media in China are undergoing a new wave of transformation characterized by the policy-led “convergence.” The power of mainstream media is strengthening while the cultural leadership or ideological control is still at the center of any media reform in China. On the other hand, the Internet is still steadily growing in terms of access to average Chinese people—especially through mobile Internet carried by various cheap devices—and the multiple applications for a higher connectivity. As a result, the media’s role in China–India relations is arguably more important in a new information and communication environment in which the mainstream media carry the major discourse of international communication on bilateral relations while the diversity of people’s voices, or even connection beyond national borders, emerges. If the aforementioned steps are considered by both researchers and practitioners, it is fair to say that the perceptions of each other is more likely to change toward a better mutual understanding between the worlds’ two most populous countries.

Cite this Article:

Deqiang Ji, Zhengrong Hu, and Yousaf Muhammad, "Neighboring competitor? Indian image in Chinese media", Global Media and China 2016, Vol. 1(3) 247–249 DOI:10.1177/2059436416668186 

Publication Details:

This article is an excerpt taken from a research paper which is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License by the original publisher


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