External Affairs

Chinese Candidate for DG UNESCO Visited India for Support Earlier This Month

The visit took place after Beijing kept up the official rhetoric on Doklam with the release of a position paper in early August.

Tang Qian with the Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui at the embassy complex

Tang Qian (left) with the Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, at the embassy complex. Credit: Chinese Embassy website

New Delhi: Even as India and China are eye-ball-to-eye-ball on the Himalayan heights, routine diplomatic niceties are still continuing behind the scenes.

Two weeks ago, China’s candidate for the top post of the UN’s cultural and educational organisation came to India to lobby for India’s vote.

Tang Qian, who is currently assistant director general for education, is one of nine candidates standing for the October election to the top post of director general of UNESCO.

It is learnt that Tang Qian met with senior Indian government officials to present his case in the second week of this month. Officials sources, however played down the significance of the visit by the Chinese official, stating that it was “normal” for candidates for multilateral bodies to make India one of their ports of call. There had been lobbying visits by other UNESCO DG candidates too, they said. However, India has reportedly agreed to support Egypt in return for it backing India’s candidate for the International Court of Justice.

Curiously, there was no mention of Tang’s visit on the Chinese embassy’s English website. The Chinese version however, did carry a photograph of him with the Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, at the embassy complex, dated August 11.

The visit took place after Beijing ratcheted up its official rhetoric on Doklam with the release of a position paper in early August. Since then, the state news agency, Xinhua, has posted two videos aimed at an international audience – the first of which was panned for its absurd stereotypes to depict ‘India’. The MEA spokesperson had said that he did not want to “dignify” the video by commenting on it.

Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy held an orientation programme for Chinese students studying in India at Jawaharlal Nehru University last week. Around 40 Chinese students from DU, JNU and other educational institutes attended the meet, as per a embassy press note.

The students were given a briefing on the security situation and advised to be security conscious, which includes avoiding night travel and traveling to remote areas.