In Beijing, we had a brief interaction with members of some Chinese think tanks. One of them, in his introductory remarks, asserted that while China was keenly interested in India, India did not seem interested in China at all. To back it up, he noted that while there was just a solitary Indian journalist (from PTI) covering the entire People’s Republic of China, there were over 16 Chinese journalists in India, including those from a TV channel.
"All of them spies, no doubt," murmured a colleague next to me in Hindi. "Which only goes to prove my point," responded our Chinese host who happened to fluent in Sanskrit and Hindi. I found out later that all the dozen Chinese scholars in that group, including two women, had studied Sanskrit, knew Hindi, and some even Bengali and Tamil.
Today, 12 years later, we have four Indian journalists in China, while China has at least a dozen or more journalists spread across India.
In a fascinating talk in Delhi earlier this year, former foreign secretary and eminent diplomat, ambassador Shyam Saran, implied that part of this disconnect was due to the fact that China had a ‘visual’ culture.
Image: A few Chinese jounalists work at the media center of 18th National Congress of CPC in Beijing on November 1, 2012.