Dharamshala — The Hindu, a 131-year-old national newspaper, has come under heavy criticism after publishing a "fake News" story titled 'Is Trump preparing to change the script on Tibet?', that falsely claiming the U.S. President-elect had declined the Dalai Lama's request for a meeting in the future.
Atul Aneja, The Hindu's Associate Editor (China) authored the piece claiming Michael Pillsbury, a top advisor of Donald Trump's transition team, on a visit to China, has revealed that the U.S. President-elect had declined the Dalai Lama's request for a meeting, signalling the 'new administration's openness to a policy review on Tibet.'
The article further mentioned 'any shift in U.S. position on the Dalai Lama is bound to have a downstream impact on India, which hosts the Tibetan leader in exile.'
Within few hours of the article's publication, Pillsbury tweeted demanding a retraction of the article and slammed it as fake news. The tweet read "Fake news retraction demanded from Mr. Atul Aneja in The Hindu online faked anti- Trump news Trump did not reject meeting Dalai Lama."
Pillsbury also wrote on his Facebook page- "Fake news – I don't know if Mr Trump will see the Dalai Lama or not and I certainly did not claim to be a Trump advisor or to reveal his decisions on anything. My published article is accurate that Mr Trump has several options about Tibet and India. This reporter was not even present and cited a Chinese language website about a Chinese TV interview that does not support what he wrote. I favor Trump meeting the Dalai Lama, all things considered. But I have no insider knowledge."
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, ‘prime minister’ of the Tibetan government in exile in India, responded to the fake news saying 'Pillsbury wrote me an email last night rubbishing the news and said he supports a meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.' Pillsbury attended Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay's first swearing-in-ceremony in August 2011 in Dharamshala, India.
Speaking to Elizabeth Roche – Live Mint recently, Dr Lobsang Sangay, said that the Tibetan Administration was encouraged by US president elect Donald Trump’s recent statement that upcoming US administration does not need to be bound by the "One China policy."
The Tibetan leader also told the Live Mint that he is also hopeful of an early meeting between Trump and the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. "Sangay was of the view India should also make Tibet as issue for talks with China given that China already considers it a “core” issue with India. On the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama,' the Live Mint report said.
According to Nima Binara, a cybersecurity lawyer in Washington DC, "this article was from The Hindu, supposedly quoting Ming Pao, supposedly quoting CCTV, supposedly quoting Michael Pillsbury when he was in China. The Hindu is edited by N. Ram, who enthusiastically supports China's rule in Tibet. Also it's well known that Chinese media freely invent quotes and attribute them to visiting foreign guests."
"This is all to say: in the age of information warfare and weaponized 'fake news,' we must all be vigilant and cautious. It's useful to see this article because it suggests that China and its allies are nervous that something may be afoot relating to Tibet," said Nima.
Friends of Tibet (FOT) has previously slammed the newspaper— and said it has learned that the editorial board of The Hindu led by N Ram has instructed their centres not to carry any 'Tibet', 'Dalai Lama' and 'Falun Gong' stories criticising the policies of the Chinese government. Instead of depending on reliable news agencies like PTI, UNI, IANS, Reuters, AP and AFP, The Hindu has found a Beijing-based news-agency to fetch stories - The Xinhua - world's biggest propaganda agency belonging to the Chinese Communist Party. Probably The Hindu is the only newspaper in the country to reproduce Xinhua reports. "Today The Hindu has virtually become a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party," the FOT added.