Remember 1962 defeat: Chinese media warns India again amid Sikkim standoff

ITBP troops at forward areas along the China border. Photo: PTI
While we don't know what the Chinese soldiers are up to at the Sikkim border, Chinese state media has found a new, actually old, stick to beat India with — the 1962 Sino-Indian war. 

Paraphrasing pieces and editorials run by the People's Daily, Xinhua, and Global Times, the message to India is clear: Remember your defeat in 1962 and accept China's position in the current stand-off at the Sikkim border. 

The latest attempt to browbeat India through 'editorial warfare' saw the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, post a picture of a Chinese editorial, titled 'If this can be tolerated, what cannot?', from September 22, 1962 — just short of a month before the 1962 war started.   

We couldn't access a direct English translation of the editorial. However, the essence of the editorial was that the "Chinese people would not tolerate the provocation by the Indian Army", according to a People's Daily Online article titled 'People’s Daily to India: Borderline is bottom line'. Back then, the editorial had warned of serious consequences for India if the conflict lingered. Further, it had accused Indian troops of encroaching on Beijing's territory.

People's Daily goes there today -- posts image online of front page editorial from Sept 22, 1962: "If this can be tolerated, what cannot?"

— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) July 12, 2017

Sounds familiar? India must pull back its troops from Dokalam to avoid serious consequences, China's state-owned news agency Xinhua said on July 11. 

"The Indian military's trespass into Chinese territory is a blatant infringement on China's sovereignty, which should be immediately and unconditionally rectified," it said, noting that ever since Indian soldiers "crossed into Chinese territory" and "obstructed work on a road" in the Dokalam area in June, China has lodged a series of protests demanding India pull back its troops immediately.

"India should rectify its mistakes and show sincerity to avoid an even more serious situation creating more significant consequences," the piece said. 

This is just one example. The area at the strategic tri-junction of India, Bhutan, and China, which is under Chinese control but claimed by Thimphu, has been the scene of a standoff since June 16. China, for its part, has accused Indian troops of transgressing into its territory, while India has expressed concern over China constructing a road in the disputed Doka La area near Sikkim and has conveyed to Beijing that such an action would represent a significant change of status quo with "serious" security implications for India. Since the stand-off started, a number of article and editorials in Chinese papers have warned India of serious consequences if it does not "pull back" its troops. 

For example: "New Delhi's regional hegemony is swelling to a tipping point. The country has to pay for its provocations." The  Global Times editorial said last week. 

The Global Times is an English-language Chinese newspaper under the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.

Accusing India of harbouring ambitions of regional "hegemony", the editorial calls upon the Chinese state to "lead the international community in restoring Bhutan's diplomatic and defence sovereignty". 

Further, its prescription for chastising India is that Beijing should "reconsider its stance over the Sikkim issue". While China had recognised Sikkim as a part of India before, the editorial calls upon Chinese society to support Sikkim's "independence".