March 24, 2023

BEIJING: According to an article published in the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reverently referred to as “Modi Laoxian,” which means “Modi the Immortal.” based on the strategic affairs magazine The Diplomat. In the article “How is India perceived in China?” Mu Chunshan, a journalist known for analyzing Chinese social media, especially Sina Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter), also said that most Chinese believe Modi-led India can balance the world’s major powers. Sina Weibo has over 582 million active users.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an unusual nickname on the Chinese Internet: Modi Laoxian. Laoxian refers to an elderly immortal with some strange powers. This nickname implies that Chinese netizens see Modi as different, even more amazing than other leaders,” he said.

They point to both his clothing and appearance, which is considered Laotian, as well as some of his policies that differ from India’s former policies, Mu said.

As for India’s relations with other major countries, he said, whether it be Russia, the United States, or the countries of the global South, India can maintain friendly relations with all of them, which some Chinese netizens “very admired”.

“Thus, the word ‘laoxian’ reflects the complex attitude of the Chinese towards Modi, which combines curiosity, surprise, and perhaps a certain amount of cynicism,” Mu wrote.

“I have been reporting for international media for almost 20 years, and Chinese netizens rarely give a nickname to a foreign leader. Modi’s nickname stands out from all the others. Obviously, he made an impression on Chinese public opinion,” he said. said.

In addition to hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Prime Minister Li Keqiang since he took power in 2014, Modi has also held two rare informal summits with Xi, 69, in Wuhan and later in Mamallapuram near Chennai. , which raised expectations for improved relations between the two Asian giants.

Sino-Indian relations have deteriorated after aggressive military actions by the Chinese military in eastern Ladakh, violating agreements to resolve the border dispute, which led to almost three years of military standoff.

The two countries held 17 rounds of high-ranking military talks to resolve the standoff.

India claims that relations with China cannot be normal unless there is peace in the border areas.

Modi is also well known in China as he interacted with the Chinese public through his Sina Weibo account, which he launched in 2015 and has over 2.44 million followers.

However, he resigned from Weibo in July 2020 after the Indian government decided to ban 59 Chinese apps in order to send “a strong signal at the border, on the economic front and on a personal level,” according to BJP Secretary General B.L. . Santosh. .

In her article, Mu says that the Chinese view of India is very complex, but usually based on a sense of superiority and self-confidence.

Notably, he writes that Chinese netizens see China’s attempts to use its “all-weather ally” Pakistan as “unrealistic” as the gap between the two South Asian neighbors is “growing wider”, an obvious reference to the political and economic crisis. Pakistan is currently experiencing.

“Facts over the past nine years have proven that China and India have more opportunities for cooperation. For example, China’s trade with India is US$115 billion per year, which is “much larger than China’s trade with Pakistan, which is about US$30 billion.” Mu wrote.

“Of course, China has not forgotten Pakistan. But many Chinese netizens are realistic about the two South Asian neighbors. The argument is very sober: the idea of ​​using Pakistan to contain India is becoming more and more unrealistic because the gap between Pakistan and India is getting wider,” he said.

He also writes about China’s concerns about India’s growing popularity in Western countries, especially the US, and how New Delhi is handling the Ukraine crisis without severing its close ties with Russia and America.

“This is just one example of a popular notion in China: India is the favorite of the West, and China has become the target of the West. How did India do it? Why does India have such a large circle of international friends?” The issue was discussed by Chinese netizens.

Most Chinese have a sense of superiority and self-confidence towards India, and of course most Chinese do not like it when India gets too close to the United States, but they also believe that China and India can cooperate. , the article says.

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