Triggers speculation online whether it was an inadvertent error on the part of the editorial team, story dropped off less than a day later
A Chinese state-controlled website published a story which accepted Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of India, before being dropped from the portal less than a day later, as per media reports. China has never acknowledged the existence of Arunachal Pradesh, maintaining that it is a disputed region and part of southern Tibet.
As per a report in The Hindustan Times, the story titled, “India’s old age population hits all time high since independence”, was published in the English edition of Chinese website People’s Daily. The portal is considered to be the ruling communist party’s mouthpiece. The story was, however, dropped from the portal later.
The story was written by an Indian journalist named Zeeshan Shaikh who is visiting Beijing as part of a Chinese government fellowship.
In the article, the journalist while comparing India’s state-wise elderly population, wrote that, the state with the lowest number of elderly is Arunachal Pradesh, with just 4.6 per cent of the population, aged above sixty. This was followed by Meghalaya which has 4.7 per cent elderly.
The report was later pulled down from the website, with the current URL giving users a 404 Not Found error. One can still read the article via its google cache.
“First of all on the border issue our position is clear and consistent. We never acknowledged the existence of so called Arunachal Pradesh,” Geng Shuang, ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) spokesperson had told a media briefing earlier this year.
In February, Beijing strongly criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and warned of lodging a diplomatic protest.
The MFA had then China does not recognise “so-called Arunachal Pradesh” and India should not complicate the festering boundary row.
“The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh and is firmly opposed to the Indian leader’s visit to the disputed area,” Geng was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.