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Diplomacy

China Reacts on Row Over Remarks on Prophet, Hopes Issue Can Be 'Properly Resolved'

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called for 'harmonious coexistence between civilisations'.

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New Delhi: China on Monday, June 13, entered the fray over the controversial remarks made by now suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders over Prophet Mohammed, asserting that it was necessary to remove “pride and prejudice” and “promote exchanges, dialogue and harmonious coexistence between civilizations”.

Last week, at least 18 countries and two multilateral groups issued condemnation or summoned Indian envoys to express ire over the statements made by two BJP leaders, who the ruling party subsequently removed.

During the daily briefing on Monday, a Chinese journalist asked the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin to comment on the “outrage in the Muslim world and Islamic nations” caused by the comments of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

Stating that Beijing hopes the situation will be “properly resolved”, Wang noted that China always believes that different civilisations and religions should respect each other and live together as equals.

“It is always important to discard pride and prejudice, better understand the differences between one’s own civilisation and other civilisations, and promote exchanges, dialogue and harmonious coexistence between civilisations,” he said.

The BJP on June 5 suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their controversial remarks against the Prophet.

Amid protests by Muslim groups over the remarks, the party also issued a statement aimed at assuaging the concerns of minorities and distancing itself from these members, asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces the insult of any religious personality.

The Ministry of External Affairs has said India accords the highest respect for all religions.

“Certain individuals made the offensive tweets and comments denigrating a “religious personality” and do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India,” the MEA Spokesperson said in a series of statements last week.

China has also faced criticism from the West about the treatment meted out to its Muslim minority population in Xinjiang province. The Muslim countries have largely kept quiet about the allegation of human rights violations of Uygur Muslims, which has primarily been reported by international civil society groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

India has also never raised concerns about the situation in Xinjiang province.

Last month, UN Human Rights Council chief Michelle Bachelet visited China after a long, drawn-out negotiation process with Beijing to probe the allegations of the internment of over a million Uygur Muslims of different ages as part of its crackdown on Islamic militants.

At the end of her visit to Xinjiang on May 28, Bachelet said: “I have raised questions and concerns about the application of counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation measures and their broad application – particularly their impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.”

The UN earlier said it has identified patterns of arbitrary detention, coerced labour and broader infringements on civil liberties in Xinjiang. UN bodies and officials have also previously raised concerns about the treatment of Muslims in India, which New Delhi has consistently dismissed.

(With PTI inputs)