Maughan Hub is a series of articles written by KCL’s Comedy Society members, published on Wednesdays. We hope they entertain you wherever you are!
In a devastating foreign policy move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to wish Chinese Premier Xi Jinping a happy birthday. This was retaliation for the ongoing Sino-Indian border clashes in Ladakh, which have already claimed dozens of lives on both sides.
Maughan Hub reached out to renowned King’s Professor J. Oke to get his view on the situation. Oke opined that, “this is a devastating non-kinetic psychological pressure tactic. The Chinese ego may never recover; their reputation as ‘the Middle Kingdom’ amongst the surrounding countries is in tatters. After all, if you can’t even get someone to wish you happy birthday, how can you ever expect broader loyalty?”
Other academics, notably Harriet Umour, contested Professor Oke’s analysis, suggesting it was historically essentialist to imply that China needed any validation, and that birthdays are meaningless after a certain age anyway. At press time, both academics were encamped on opposite sides of the staff common room throwing pastries at each other. More as we have it.
The official line from Zhongnanhai is that this is “no big deal, honestly, like, who cares? I don’t care.” As one spokesperson put it; “While we obviously regret this unfortunate lapse by Prime Minister Modi, our relationship with India could not be stronger.”
Internally, the situation is quite different. Our sources close to Xi report that he is “beside himself” and “heartbroken”. Not even burning his image into more Indian cities could make him feel better. One senior functionary was ordered to bin a consignment of party hats and other paraphernalia – Xi simply wasn’t in the mood to celebrate this year. A non-binding resolution was passed by the Central Party Congress emphasising that Xi is beloved by all the citizens of the world, and that Modi is just, like, totally mean. But it seems to have been little comfort to the distraught premier.
Options for retaliation have been presented to Xi. These include unfollowing Modi on Instagram, dramatically increasing troop presence in Ladakh, and spilling the tea on Facebook. The current status of the Chinese response is unknown at this time, but Maughan Hub will continue to monitor this evolving crisis.