Indian media focuses more on China’s rise: Study

Kolkata, Feb 5 (IANS) Indian newspapers, in their coverage on China, have moved away from a “single-minded concern” with the border issue and now devote more attention to its status as a rising power, an analysis said on Sunday.

The focus is also on emerging issues like river water sharing and climate change, according to a report titled “Indian Media’s Perception of China: Analysis of Editorials”, published by think tank The Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

The report, which examines the data collected from select national newspapers, covering a period of three years from 2012 to 2014, says: “The newspapers devote more and more attention to China’s status as a rising power or to emerging issues like river water sharing, environment protection and climate change or trade between the two countries and have moved away from a single-minded concern with the border issue.”

“While the border remains a sensitive issue, the newspapers are of the view that there are multiple areas in which India can move forward in its relations with China.”

The report authored by Rakhahari Chatterji and Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury is part of a larger study of public perception of India-China relations.

The two countries fought a brief war in 1962. The 3,488-kilometre-long Line of Actual Control (LAC), remains undefined between the two neighbours. China claims India’s Arunachal Pradesh as its own while New Delhi calls Chinese-occupied Aksai Chin.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is the No. 1 trading partner of over 120 countries.

The national newspapers chosen from India are The Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Economic Times and The Financial Express.

In each of the newspapers, the authors looked at the editorial pieces relating to China – “as these articles are indicative of a newspaper’s overall perception”.

Their report said the media devoted considerable time and space to China-related matters even though its concern with China is not overwhelming, while it further showed that though the border still remains a “very sensitive issue” for India in particular, the newspapers do not allow it to hijack all other issues.

The researchers found the print media’s interest in China is expanding to cover its domestic issues as well.

“Despite this, it is apparent that the media’s sensitivity to the border issue determines it’s perception about, and projection of, China,” it added.