Narendra Modi has now joined Weibo, China’s biggest microblogging platform, in a friendly bid to interact with the Chinese public. Unfortunately for the Indian Prime Minister, he hasn’t received an entirely friendly response.
Modi’s first post went up at 12:28 yesterday afternoon, reading: “Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo.”
The brief post has since attracted over 11 thousand comments from web users, a few of whom were not shy about letting Modi know from the get-go what they think about his intentions of getting chummy, as Quartz points out:
One of the top comments […] under Modi’s greeting was “Hello Indian brother! Tibet belongs to China.” The two countries remain at loggerheads over the Sino-Indian border in a region in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh that China refers to as “South Tibet.” A brief border war was fought in 1962 and incursions and skirmishes still occur today. Another blogger wrote “Tibet belongs to China,” and added 阿三, or A-san, a slangy Chinese term for Indians that dates back to British colonialism. […] Another blogger wrote, “Do not bully Pakistan. That is our little brother. Hitting Pakistan is like hitting us.”
Many users, however, gave off slightly more welcoming vibes.
“Welcome PM!” user 滋润祥子 wrote. “China and India are both great countries. The friendly relationship between the two shouldn’t be affected by the matter of territory. Hopefully, we two countries can resolve the territorial spat. Looking forward to your visiting!”
Some asked the prime minister for favors.
“Prime Minister Modi, I’m your fan. I love India. Could you please help me pass a note to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Beijing and help me get a license plate? Thank you,” user 田邦德 wrote.
Others questioned the presence of their own leadership on Chinese social media, which opened way for patriotic responses.
“A foreign prime minister has a Chinese Weibo account. Where is the Weibo account of China’s premier?” netizen 祖传奥巴马专治公主病 asked, to which user 话唠08 replied: “Our prime minister has no time to post to Weibo!”
Others, including a user called 桔子酒店Andyma, had no times for politics, and merely asked the prime minister “Are you OK?”—a reference to the greeting made by Xiaomi founder Lei Jun during a speech that recently went viral online.
Meanwhile, an unfazed Modi expressed excitement about his upcoming visit to China in a post published at noon today, writing: “Looking forward to visiting China from May 14 to 16 in the hope to strengthen the friendship of the two countries with ancient civilizations as well as the two largest developing countries in the world.”
By Lucy Liu
[Picture courtesy of Narendra Modi’s Weibo]