Dharamsala: The Hindu on January 17 published an article titled ‘Is Trump preparing to change the script on Tibet?’
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 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 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 Dharamsala.
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.