By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 19 May 2021: It was interesting, informative, and exclusive to hear from Pradeep Taneja, Melbourne University’s China expert, personal experiences, history, and contemporary politics about the most populous and talked country in the world. Its spacecraft recently landed on Mars, but curiosity about its past and present remains. The questions were many and the answers revealing at the online Initiatives of Change Australia – Looking beyond our borders – An International session.
Some of Pradeep Taneja’s answers to questions – China-Australia relations are the worst ever, the real power in Tibet and Xinjiang rests with party secretaries, who are almost always from the dominant Han ethnic group, not Tibetan or Uyghur. The dominant ideology is not Marxism but nationalism, India-China competition in the Indian Ocean is growing and competition between the two is intense, few people speak English in China and on the question of human rights, China gives prominence to economic and cultural rights over political rights. Or, collective rights over individual rights.
On a question about China’s view of emerging Hindu nationalism in India, Pradeep Taneja says, China has no issue with Hindu nationalism as it itself uses nationalism to rule the country.
Pradeep also talked about his six years in China when he was a student there. Hardly anyone talked in English and communicating with people was difficult, he says. But the country became his passion and profession. His new book about Chima’s footprint on the Indo-Pacific will be out soon.