Last Updated: August 07, 2023, 16:52 IST
After The New York Times’ latest investigative report on how China has “lavishly funded influence campaign” to push its propaganda, intelligence agencies in India have found how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been using media, e-commerce businesses or start-ups aggressively to carry out anti-India operations and create public opinions.
This one confirmation came with the arrest of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma by the Delhi Police in September 2019 for alleged espionage at the behest of China. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him in 2021 for alleged money laundering. “During investigation, it was revealed that Rajeev Sharma had supplied confidential and sensitive information to Chinese Intelligence officers in exchange for remuneration thereby compromising the security and national interests of India,” ED had said in a statement.
The intelligence agencies found that the articles authored by Sharma was a plan of CCP against the Dalai Lama and India and linked the Masood Azhar issue with the Dalai Lama.
Police said Sharma was in touch with a Chinese intelligence official since 2016 and had allegedly sent him classified information related to the Indian Army deployment on the China-Bhutan-India tri-junction, including Doklam.
One Indian media outlet also did a favourably scripted interview of a Chinese Ambassador on Galwan clashes of May 2020, and after the backlash, Prasar Bharti reviewed its relationship with the wire agency.
The Indian government in June 2020 banned nearly 59 Chinese apps on the grounds of threat to sovereignty and security of the country. Apps such as TikTok, UC Browser, ShareIT and Helo, with more than 500 million users worldwide, were banned in India over suspicion of espionage and data leak.
It has come to the notice of Indian intelligence agencies that mostly regional channels, which are continuously doing shows on the India-China relations, have received education degree and training from Chinese universities.
Sources told News18 that China had sent an Indian journalist to different fellowship programmes.
It is learnt that Chinese universities are funding many fellowship programmes, which are directly connected to Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and, in turn, the Chinese side receives information regarding Line of Control (LoC) and Line of Actual Control (LAC).
CCP has been targeting Indian media, especially serving content in Malayalam, Telugu, Odia and Urdu, by providing app-based funding, and then creating disturbances. Tamil broadcast of China Radio International is one such example of propagating Chinese agenda in India.
Even e-commerce giant like Alibaba wants to create an opinion and a favourable environment to carry out operations, which will benefit China. It exited India by selling its 3.4% equity in PayTm in a block deal on February 10, 2023, after selling its stake in Zomato and BigBasket.