© Nachiket Deuskar India-China border latest update | China inscribes large map, signage on disputed territory along Pangong lakeChinese military seems to have inscribed a massive Mandarin signage and China’s map onto the ground they have occupied in the contested Fingers areas of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso. The Mandarin signage appears to say “China”.
The ground inscriptions located between ‘Finger 4’ and ‘Finger 5’ along the lake, reportedly measure approximately 25 metres in breadth and 81 metres in length. These can also be spotted in satellite imagery.Currently, both sides are in locked in a stand-off at Finger 4 of Pangong Tso along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The ‘Finger area’ of Pangong Tso is made up of spurs that rise along the bank of the lake. According to India, the LAC is situated at Finger 8. The large swath of land between Finger 4 and 8 used to be patrolled by both sides before tensions escalated in May.Interesting detail in the @planetlabs images via @IndiaToday & @rahulkanwal of the #PangongTso lake, a possible map of #China appears to have been designed into the ground.
It was earlier reported that, in a bid to de-escalate matters in the Finger areas, China has reportedly proposed that Indian forces move back to Finger 2 as a pre-condition to Chinese troops withdrawing to Finger 6. The proposal is being seen as untenable by India. The Indian position has been that status quo ante should be restored as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been the aggressor.
Reports suggest that the situation in Ladakh — in Hot Springs, the Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso — has remained largely unchanged for several weeks even as thousands of troops on both sides of the LAC are locked in a stand-off.
Tensions along the LAC had been rising since early May amid a stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers. However, the tensions escalated to another level after 20 Indian Army soldiers, including an officer, were killed in a violent face-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15-16.There were casualties on the Chinese side too. However, that number is not clear.
India’s decision to ban dozens of Chinese apps is a big setback for China’s top tech firms trying to replicate their remarkable domestic success globally, as they are now stymied in what many consider the world’s last great untapped digital market.
India would block new downloads and prevent or disrupt access for existing Indian users of 59 Chinese apps in a matter of days, a government official who is familiar with the matter said Tuesday. “We have already asked Google and Apple to take note of the government’s latest decision…
TikTok was one of 59 apps, including Chinese messaging platform WeChat and mobile browser UC Browser, banned by the Indian government Monday for posing a “threat to sovereignty and integrity.”
The move follows a border clash between India and China earlier this month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.Some creators even posted videos about how to use Instagram. Others posted farewell videos with the hashtag #ByeTikTok, saying they agreed with the government’s move and would delete their accounts from the app.
In an interview with India TV, actress Ashnoor Kaur, who has 3.2 million followers on TikTok, celebrated the government’s move saying it presented an opportunity for India to become self-sufficient and use homegrown apps.”I am really happy with this decision and I’m totally in support of it,” she said, adding, “your country comes first.”
“The fact that Tik-tokers have millions of fans is because people consume that content. You too have silently watched their videos, laughed with some, laughed at many. Forwarded those videos to your friends. These creators too are fellow Indians. ..
Today you are celebrating the downfall of all those who had build a brand for themselves by sheer hard work, without any GODFATHER. So next time when you ridicule anyone just ask yourself what would you do if you woke up to the news that your business doesn’t exist anymore.”
Tuesday, TikTok responded to the ban, saying it has been invited by the Indian government “to respond and submit clarifications.”The company denied sharing user information “with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so.”
This is not the first time TikTok has run into trouble with the Indian government. The app was briefly blocked in India last year after a court ruled it could expose children to sexual predators, pornography and cyberbullying. The app was reinstated a week later after the company successfully appealed the court’s decision.
TikTok has a lot to lose in the world’s second-most populous country. India has been the biggest driver of new TikTok downloads, generating close to 660 million installs since its launch in 2017, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
The app has recently exploded in popularity around the world. It was downloaded 315 million times from January through March, according to Sensor Tower — an amount that the analytics company says topped any other app ever for a single quarter. TikTok now has more than 2 billion downloads overall, more than doubling its total from a year ago.
But losing India could have knock-on effects for TikTok’s brand, which is already suffering in the face of increased scrutiny from US lawmakers.
The Narendra Modi government’s decision to ban TikTok has left thousands of Indian content creators in the lurch.The short-form video sharing platform, which took India by storm a couple of years back, gave rise to a whole new breed of celebrities in the country: the TikTok stars.
Besides enjoying massive fan following on the Bytedance-owned app, these creators have been earning from TikTok via brand endorsements. Some even left their stable jobs to create content on TikTok.
The ease of shooting and editing videos on TikTok worked in its favour. The app also rewards authentic content made by people from different strata of society. Over the years, TikTok added 14 regional Indian language options, which further added to its popularity.
The app’s diverse user base caught the attention of brands like apparel retailer Zara, personal care products seller Clean & Clear, sportwear brand Puma, and beverage maker Pepsi, who work with content creators on TikTok for digital advertising.
“Tiktok is very easy to access in the most remote locations, and it’s very easy to use,” 23-year-old Adil Khan, who has over 3.8 million TikTok followers, told Quartz. “Instagram and YouTube can be elitist but TikTok is a very simple entertainment app.” Khan has only 180,000 followers on Instagram.
Similarly, Nidhi Kumar, 24, has 130,000 followers on Instagram but 1.2 million on TikTok. The dancer posts around six videos on TikTok daily, which typically get a cumulative half a million views.
“The way you can reach the masses with TikTok is next level,” she said. Kumar gets up to 40% of her income from social media via TikTok, second only to her earnings from Instagram.
Even as individual creators’ earnings take a hit due to the ban in India, experts believe this is short-term and the overall digital marketing landscape in the country won’t change. After all,
TikTok still made for only a sliver of the advertising pie since its user base was skewed towards youngsters, said Rik Paul, associate professor of marketing at BML Munjal University. Close to 42% of TikTok’s active user base in India was 16-24 years of age who wouldn’t make big purchase decisions, Paul added.
“Talent isn’t platform-bound,” said Maddie Amrutkar, founder of Mumbai-based PR and marketing agency Glad U Came. “Influencers can still create content on other platforms.”
While some of the popular TikTok creators have a presence on other social media apps such as Instagram or YouTube, those “who did not diversify will feel the heat,” said Ashutosh Harbola, founder and CEO of influencer-marketing firm Buzzoka.
On June 30, Comedian Vir Das and content creator Kusha Kapila lamented the loss felt by the TikTok community and encouraged them to “find a new home” and keep creating.
“Take the examples of the biggest TikTokers in India. Mostly all have successful YouTube channels and their subscriber base from TikTok migrated,” Kumar points out.Awez Darbar has 2.73 million followers on YouTube and his first video is from five years ago. Former TV actor Jannat Zubair, who has garnered 1.78 million followers on YouTube, has been posting videos there for three years.
Once the ban on TikTok came into effect, some Tiktok creators saw their following on other platforms rise. For instance, on a given day, Kumar gains between 300 and 400 followers on Instagram. But the night of the ban, she got 1,200 new followers. Meanwhile, Khan got 2,000 new followers on Instagram overnight.
For those looking for apps that closely mirror TikTok’s features, several homegrown options have been popping up. “Homegrown brands like Mitron and Chingari are sitting on a huge pie, it’s all up to them how they use this as an opportunity,” Buzzoka’s Harbola said. Chingari has already been gaining traction. Then there’s also InMobi’s Reposo and Zee5’s soon-to-be-released HiPi.
But TikTok stars are not lapping up these new platforms just as yet. “At least until I know what is happening with TikTok, I’m not going to any other platform,” said Kumar.
Image caption Geet has more than 10 million followers on her three channelsSince Monday evening, Geet’s inbox has been overflowing with messages from anxious followers from all over India.
Geet, who goes by her first name only, says she was taken aback when India banned TikTok and dozens more Chinese-made apps because it said they were a danger to the country.
After all, the former lawyer is now one of India’s many TikTok stars, teaching “American English”, and giving relationship advice and pep talks to more than 10 million followers on her three channels.
Every day, for the past year, Geet has uploaded 15 videos to her accounts, each usually 20 seconds long. Shooting on her phone and a professional camera, she records up to 120 videos a day to make sure that her larder is never bare. The rest of the week she is busy scripting and editing her videos.
I mean, this is my life now. It’s my full-time job,” she told me.Her followers are distraught. “How can I learn English any more?” one asked. “Who will motivate me now?” another wrote.
Fuelled by cheap data and a young population, TikTok has picked up some 200 million users in three years in India. The popular mobile app features snappy, shareable videos, often catering to teens and other young people. Using filters, sounds, music and hashtags, young Indians upload songs, dances, pranks, comedy skits, career tips, challenges, language and yoga lessons.
These co-exist with some videos which have featured hate speech, misogyny and casual violence. In some instances, users have been killed or injured trying to record risky stunts, and police have even tracked and arrested gangsters flaunting their lifestyles on the app.The largely 15-second videos – the app allows videos up to one minute – offer a snapshot into the life and times of young Indians, bristling with ambition and frustration.
“It’s endlessly fascinating. A lot of underrepresented people have found a platform here. People with alternative sexualities are expressing themselves freely. Women are asserting themselves. There’s a lot of very creative people on the platform,” says Amit Varma, a writer and podcaster, who teaches a course on TikTok.Geet, for example, never dreamt of a life on TikTok. Born in India and raised in Seattle, she studied engineering and worked in a law firm before moving to the Indian capital, Delhi, with her parents to do social work.
She says she worked with slum children and high-risk youth until opening a TikTok account in February last year. “TikTok is an extension of what I used to do. Now with a single video message I can reach out to many more people and try to help them,” she said.Most of her clients are very young and aspirational, she says. Many want to learn “American English”: one of her popular channels with more than six million followers tries to do that, using Hindi language instructions.
A viral video on this channel shows Geet telling her followers what assorted footwear in her home are called in English: flip flops, loafers, slippers, flats, high heels.In another, she corrects her mother’s pronunciation of words like breakfast, dessert, food, vegetables and pears, using her thick American accent. Another video is about “seven ways to say happy birthday”.
“All this is supposed to be snappy, fun and educative,” she says.
Media captionWatch: The Indian TikTok star who teaches her followers EnglishHer two other channels offer relationship advice and motivational chats to the young, often based on the questions her followers send to her inbox. “The most common question I get is how to cope with a break-up. The next is what to do if my partner is not giving me time. Married folks talk about marital strife and domestic violence.”
TikTok, Geet says, has changed the lives of a lot of people she knows. Advertisers woo users who have amassed massive followings. “Many of my friends depend on the app as their primary source of income,” she says. “For me, I am just happy if people recognise my work.”
An Uber driver in Delhi recognised her once and asked to record a video on his mobile phone giving some advice to his son “who was not studying hard”. Another time in a shopping complex, she was accosted by an executive who asked her: “Aren’t you the girl who teaches English on TikTok?”
At 10, she suffered a spinal cord injury and has been a wheelchair user since. “It is a very equalising platform. You see a lot of differently abled people on TikTok who have been accepted,” she says.Image copyright AFP Image caption TikTok has some 200 million users in India, more than half of them regularly active
The lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has been a stressful time for her and her followers. Before the lockdown began in late March, she joined her brother along with her parents in Seattle from where she continues to make videos. To keep her followers engaged, she often streams live and makes videos with games and puzzles. “It’s a difficult time,” she says.
It got a little more difficult on Monday evening. Geet went live on her channels to placate her anxious followers.”Don’t worry. Don’t lose courage. Let’s wait. We think the issue will be resolved and we will meet again. Don’t lose hope and don’t do anything drastic.”