The ajinomoto in freedom of expression

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January 16th, 2012 Jyoti Mukul

It all began with a pan in a van. It showed the Chinese mettle against dosa and samosa. The Chinese noodle selling vans seen around in most Delhi markets in the 80s gave the first taste of China to many of us—may not be an authentic one but it certainly acted as an initiation into a culture that, in those days, tasted of ajinomoto and cabbage liberally sprinkled on to the noodles that were tossed up and caught into the pan at the right time by the cook in the van, as customers waited eagerly for their share to be packed in small plastic bags. And, then there were the Chinese ink pen and pencil box unique in their double case sold at shops selling imported goods.

Our association with China or with the Chinese has evolved since then; we now accept more products from there which has made the Oriental neighbour our biggest trading partner. What is about China that enchants us so much? It is nothing to do with the taste of ajinomoto, that Indians later started shunning for the fear of losing their brains, but it has everything to do with the love for the unknown. And from that van the enchantment has moved on to the state-of-the-art roads and railway infrastructure that China is suppose to possess.

Many of us may not have seen the famed infrastructure which from this side of the border looks worth aspiring for even if it means cursing our democratically elected government. The Indian middle class and many in the decision making circles are full of stories of the strides made by the Chinese in all spheres. If this was not enough, we had a judge telling us the other day that if China can block social networking sites, so can we. Yes, we want to imitate China in every other thing. Probably, it is right to be inspired by the economic strides made by that country but probably, it is far too much to threaten a China like ban whatever may be the form of expression.

To begin with, China does not permit a free press. Well, that may not be a new statement but the court’s observation set me thinking—how about having a judiciary that is China style. Not many in my known group knew much about the Chinese judiciary. Some time spent on the net, reading about the Chinese judicial system did not leave me much impressed.

According to one report, not all judicial pronouncements are made public there. Novexcn.com, that provides translations of Chinese laws and regulations, as well as some political, social, and economic news about China in English, says the Chinese government may decide to publish a case or cases that tend to convey the message that the government would like the world to understand, which is usually that China’s legal system is fair, transparent, and the “rule of law” is strong, well established, and respected. It also says that the government of China exerts strong pressure on the courts in cases which they believe there is a national policy interest at stake, or are politically sensitive. Inspiring?

Like everything that we desist in our country and want to ape China, we can leave alone everything that we cherish in our country and desist in China—or at least let the people decide for themselves. The ajinomoto can be left to that which is originally Chinese.

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One Response to “The ajinomoto in freedom of expression”

  1. Bango Says:

    Totally agree.

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