Xi Jinping’s India visit: Chinese media strike an upbeat note, glosses over border issue

China-IndiaThe three-day visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to India triggered a deluge of coverage in the Chinese media.

Broadly speaking, leading Chinese media outlets struck a positive note about the trajectory of India-China relations and highlighted India’s growing importance for Chinese investments and strategic interest. The discourse of the “rise of the Asian century,” which has been mentioned by both India’s Prime Minister Narenrdra Modi and China’s President Xi Jinping in their speeches, has also been reflected in the media coverage.

People’s Daily, China’s leading state-owned newspaper, took an optimistic position about the Chinese president’s visit and added that the two leaders that “mapped out a new era in relations.”

The state-owned news agency Xinhua spoke of how India and China, “the two old Asian neighbours are facing fresh opportunities to allay disputes and foster ties.” It added that this was also an opportunity for China to share with India and with the rest of the world the “feat of “Chinese speed.”

It is this feat that has encouraged research and development and fused it with the hard work of the Chinese people to propel it to become the world second biggest economy, said Xinhua.

An opinion piece in China Daily urged India to open up to ideas from China, like it has historically been open to ideas stemming from India. It added, “the future of India will be dominated more by the Chinese way of thinking than any other way.”

However, while many media outlets in India raised legitimate concerns of repeated incursions by the Chinese along the un-demarcated border between the two countries, China’s media chose to focus on the enormous economic potential waiting to be fructify between the two countries.

“There is a growing awareness and wisdom sweeping across Asia, to put the artificially created tangles and thorns of the past aside. There is a great drive from the people for their leaders to provide policies that put their interests first, to prosper, to live in a friendly, productive and prosperous neighbourhood,” said the opinion piece in China Daily.

The Global Times’ Chinese edition wrote extensively of how the two countries have a perception problem of each other. The Global Times report mentioned that some Chinese citizens believed that India was “poor”, while others referred to it as a democracy”.

“The former perception is a negative one, while the latter is filled with praise for India’s society. But all these are extreme views.”

China Net, a Chinese language newspaper, also echoed this sentiment: “As a start, the Chinese people should not look down on India. They should also not look at its political system with an ideological purpose.”

“Many people show contempt when they talk about India. They view this neighbouring country as backward, messy, dirty and poor… For many Indians, either they fear and hate China because of a war in the past, or they are suspicious and jealous of the real development of China,” says the website.

It further urged Indians to take an objective view of China’s development “rather than continuing to crawl at the feet of the broken Western discourse about China,” says the article.

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