Monday, October 1, 2012

India forces China to take off Gujarat riots video

A day after video clips of the 2002 Gujarat riots shown in China sparked a political row in India, New Delhi asked the organizers of the art exhibition to take off the exhibits.
    After TOI highlighted the incident, Indian embassy officials in Beijing on Tuesday visited the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art (UCCA) to stop the showing of a controversial video about the Godhra riots.
    “We were cooperating with them on the understanding that they will not show any objectionable material. Now that this video has created a controversy, we have had it stopped,” said a senior embassy official.
    The MEA spokesperson in Delhi said India had asked for the video to be taken off. He said, the Indian artist, Tejal Shah, had shown the video in many countries and received the Sanskriti award in 2009. Official sources said the film on Godhra riots was not shown on June 26, when the Indian ambassador to China, S Jaishankar, inaugurated the exhibition.
    The decision to show the form of three videos — on Godhra riots, the horrors of Partition and human rights abuses in the North-East — may have been taken much earlier. UCCA has been under intense pressure for moving away from Chinese art and taking an interest in other art forms like that from India, sources said.
    “(But) when UCCA sold much of its Chinese art collections during last year’s spring auction, suspicions were raised that the museum was distancing itself from the Chinese contemporary art market,” the Global Times reported.
    The daily quoted Phillip Tinari, UCCA president as saying, “The situation is that we are still enthusiastic about Chinese art, but meanwhile we are developing a new interest in Indian art.”
    Indian officials also said that they did not find a controversial art work showing ONGC’s oil exploration work during the opening of the art show.
    It depicts how ONGC and other foreign companies are interfering in oil-rich islands that are being disputed by China and Vietnam.
China builds new city on disputed isle
China’s newest city is a tiny remote island in the South China Sea, barely large enough to host a single airstrip. There is a post office, bank, supermarket and a hospital, but little else. Fresh water comes by freighter on a 13-hour journey from China’s southernmost province. Welcome to Sansha, China’s expanding toehold in the world’s most disputed waters, portions of which are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and other neighbours. On Tuesday a new mayor declared Sansha, with a population of just 1,000, China’s new municipality. Beijing has created the city administration to oversee not only the rugged outpost but hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of water, to strengthen its control over disputed — and potentially oil-rich — islands. A spokesman for the Philippines foreign ministry said Manila did not recognize the city or its jurisdiction. Vietnam said China’s actions violated international law.