DAILY EDITORIAL (UPSC) |26 Jan 2021| RaghukulCS

How China might tackle the Biden presidency

Source: The Hindu

Written by: Jabin T. Jacob (Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh.)

Topic in the syllabus: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial talks about challenges the world & the U.S.A. is going to face from China in the recent future.

Introduction:

  • With a new administration taking over in the U.S., the legacy of hardline China policies left behind by former President Donald Trump will create more challenges from China.

Let’s see what can we expect from China& the U.S.A.:

  • Beijing may talk about being misunderstood and of overriding “common interests”, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi did earlier in December.
  • Since the main concerns for American leaders have usually been economic ones – jobs, exports and competitiveness, among other things – there could be appeasement in the form of limited or selective access for American agricultural produce and private enterprises.
  • Since climate change is apriority for the Democrats – like the appointment of John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy For Climate suggests – there will be many Chinese ‘concessions’ on this front also.
  • Ideological competition is now a feature of Chinese foreign policy and it will be very difficult for the
    Communist Party to not also attack the U.S. directly for real and imagined faults.
  • China can continue to highlight and exaggerate domestic dynamics in the U.S. as a way of explaining away the U.S.­ – China tensions as well as other American problems around the world.
    • The attempt is to showcase China’s political system in a positive light while criticising American­ style democracy as somehow flawed and in decline.
  • As China will more confidently interfere in U.S. domestic politics.– As it has increasingly done in recent years from New Zealand to Nepal.
  • China will sustain pressure against American allies and partners everywhere in the world.
    • For instance, Beijing’s provocations against Japan in the East China Sea and economic coercion against Australia.
  • China’s conclusion of a bilateral investment treaty with the European Union on the eve of the Biden presidency is a classic divide and ­rule tactic against the West.
    • China will continue to bribe foreign private enterprises to do its will.
  • The inability of American and other foreign enterprises to acknowledge, let alone take a stand against, the oppression of China’s Uyghur minority is also a concern for the Biden administration.
    • The reality that most Western and Japanese enterprises do not want to leave China despite their governments asking them to.

Conclusion:

  • Under Mr Biden, American pressure on China’s domestic political and internal economic system and its external policies is not going to be very unexpected for the Chinese leadership. But the U.S.A. will also face a China that believes increasingly in taking the fight to the opposition.

Overzealous threat

Source: The Hindu

Topic in the syllabus: Polity – Fundamental rights (GS-2)

Analysis about: This editorial criticises Bihar police circular on social media posts.

Basics:

  • Six freedoms are granted to any citizen in India, provided in Article 19. They are:
    1. Freedom of speech and expression
    2. Freedom to assemble peacefully without arms
    3. Freedom to form associations or unions
    4. Freedom to move freely throughout India
    5. Freedom to reside and settle in any part of India
    6. Freedom to practise any profession or to carry on business, occupation or trade
  • The Indian Constitution provides various fundamental rights for an Indian citizen. The freedom of speech and expression provided for in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution is one of them.
  • Freedom of speech and expression enables any individual to openly share his or her views, with reasonable restrictions.
  • It is an important right in a democracy and is granted by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India to every citizen of India.
  • Reasonable restrictions:
    1. Defamation
    2. Contempt of court
    3. Decency or morality
    4. Security of the state
    5. Friendly relations with other states
    6. Incitement to an offence
    7. Sedition
    8. Public Order

Introduction:

  • The Economic Offences Wing of Bihar police, which also deals with cyber­crime, has sent a circular to the department secretaries that they could inform the wing about social media “offensive posts” so that it could act against them, terming such actions as “against prescribed law”. The action contemplated is for an alleged cyber­crime.

How it is wrong?

  • The warning by the Bihar police of legal action be­ing taken against many users of social media “offensive” posts targeting the government, its Ministries­ and officials, betrays both hyper sensitivities as well as the ignorance of the law.
  • It represents an unacceptable combination of low tolerance for criticism and zeal to suppress the public.
  • The letter from the Inspector General of Police concerned makes nomention of any specific penal provision.
  • It is a possible reference to Section 66A of the IT Act, as there is no other section that deals with “offensive” remarks.
    • Section 66A,was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015, as being too broadly defined – which deal with “Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.”
    • The Act’s remaining penal provisions pertain only to other offences — sending obscene messages, hacking, stealing computer data, identity theft, personation, and violation of privacy.
  • There is nothing particular in the law that would render strong, even offensive and intemperate, criticism of the government a cyber ­offence. The period of the warning suggests that the cybercrime wing may initiate proceedings against those who post offensive messages.
    • In response to criticism, the State government has clarified that the proposed action would only be against rumour-mongering and insulting language.

Conclusion:

  • There is much on social media that can be seen as crimes (hate speech ,defamation),but it ill-behoves the government to take note of these unless the offenders are influential enough to cause large social divisions and foment violence.
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