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Repairing A Badly-Hit Image?

President Xi Jinping has informed members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that he wants to make friends with the world. Speaking at a recent study session for the CPC’s top leadership in Beijing, he said that it was important for the country to tell its story in a positive manner, presenting the image of a “credible, lovable, and respectable” China. However, President Xi knows that it would be a difficult task, keeping in mind Beijing’s aggressive foreign policy.

The Asian Giant maintains cordial ties with Bangladesh. However, thousands of Bangladeshis held demonstrations in the capital city of Dhaka on June 4 (2021) to mark the 32nd anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre, creating an awkward situation for Beijing. Reports suggest that people in Bangladesh gathered outside the Baitul Mukarram Mosque in Dhaka, held candlelight vigils and shouted anti-China slogans. One of the banners, used during the candlelight visit, read Genocide Day. The demonstrators were seen wearing blue masks to highlight gross Human Rights violations, including suppression of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Province, by the Government of China. Although Beijing is yet to issue any official statement on this development, the top Chinese Political Leadership has expressed dissatisfaction.

It may be noted that hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers had suppressed student-led Pro-Democracy Demonstrations on June 4, 1989 in Beijing in a bloody crackdown. The event is known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Thereafter, China has never allowed any discussion on the bloody crackdown. Hong Kong, a former British colony, has also imposed a ban on any discussion on this issue.

Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that his country honoured the “sacrifices of those killed 32 years ago, and the brave activists who carry on their efforts today in the face of ongoing government repression“. In a statement, he stressed: “Named after the nearby Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Square is instead synonymous with the brutal actions by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in 1989 to silence tens of thousands of individuals, advocating to have a say in their government and exercise their Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

President Xi Jinping

A number of leaked documents have revealed China’s brutal crackdown on Uyghurs. Beijing calls it a “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism”, as the Uyghur militants had stabbed more than 150 people at a railway station in 2014. Interestingly, President Xi has defended his government’s move, claiming that his administration is following the US’ policy of War on Terror in Xinjiang!

According to experts, President Xi might want China to extend the hand of friendship to the world, but with the wolf warriors of the Foreign Ministry howling at his back, many countries might be reticent to take the chance…

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