#BoycottChina starts trending

China yet again put on hold a proposal at the UN for a ban on Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar, bringing to a halt a renewed push by France, the US and the UK to blacklist the Pakistan-based terrorist after the Pulwama attack.

China has thrice earlier put the same proposal on a “technical hold” before finally terminating it. The hold can last up to a maximum of nine months, after which China can again use its veto power to formally block, or terminate, the proposal.

The government reacted to the development late on Wednesday within minutes, saying it was disappointed.

China was the only UNSC member to object to the proposal. India said it was grateful to Member States who moved the proposal and the unprecedented number of UNSC members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors.

“We will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice,” it said.

China had in the past blocked the same proposal in 2011, 2016 and again in 2017. Government sources here said the latest ‘hold’ was another sign of China’s “double standards” on terrorism.

This was the first time that the proposal for a UN ban on Masood Azhar came within weeks of a major terror strike. China’s decision on this occasion will rankle with India a lot more as it comes within a year of the Xi-Modi summit in Wuhan which was said to have taken the bilateral relationship to another level altogether. Both countries had cited the “Wuhan spirit” to repeatedly claim that ties had been completely transformed since the Doklam standoff. Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui said last year that the relationship was passing through one of the best phases in history.

There was no proposal for a UN ban on Azhar last year as India sought to improve ties with China in the aftermath of the Doklam standoff. The Pulwama attack by JeM though changed all that, bringing ties under strain as Azhar continues to head the terror organisation and inspire attacks on India. With the US not sure of support from China, France took the lead in introducing another proposal for proscribing Azhar. The US and UK too backed the proposal and worked to mobilise support for it.

Within an hour of the outcome, the hashtags #China-BacksTerror and #Boycott-China were trending on Twitter. Calls to boycott Chinese goods have periodically surfaced on social media, and Beijing’s intransigence in backing Pakistani terrorists is expected to further fire up this demand. India imports about $ 55 billion worth of goods and products from China.

No comments: