Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a historical official welcome to mark his visit Thursday to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s home city of Xi’an, but the unofficial welcome might have been just as impressive, with hundreds of people gathering, chanting Modi’s name and basically doing everything in their power to snap his picture.
Modi and Xi made a quick visit to the Xi’an City Wall’s South Gate, where the duo were treated like Beatles — or at least like leaders of the world’s two most populous nations — with adoring fans adopting various ingenious methods and poses to take a precious blurry photo of two of the most powerful men on the planet.
Those equipped with binoculars or a high-quality cell phone camera were rewarded with some excellent waving.
The Indian prime minister’s visit appears to have been the biggest event locals can remember since the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), with crowds of people lining the route of Modi’s motorcade. Modi, being the kind of guy he is, asked his driver to stop and got out to greet his Chinese fans.
A generic man on the street surnamed Wang was appropriately impressed: “I know him, he is the Indian prime minister. I have never seen such a scene.”
An editorial today in China Daily argued that this warm welcome reflects an improving relationship between India and China, two countries that have had their troubles in the past, but have been growing closer recently.
Modi’s whirlwind tour of Xi’an on Thursday also included visits to the Terracotta Warriors, Daxingshan Temple and the Wild Goose Pagoda. On Friday, he moved on to Beijing, where he continued to conduct important business and take selfies with fans.
It's selfie time! Thanks Premier Li. pic.twitter.com/DSCTszSnq3
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 15, 2015
He’ll be touring Shanghai on Saturday, so be on the look out. If you want to catch a glimpse, good luck, go early and bring a ladder.
In case you don’t get the chance to see the legend for yourself, enjoy this crazy video of Modi being mobbed in Xi’an that was uploaded to his Facebook account. (What kind of VPN do you think Modi uses?):
Am very glad to see the enthusiasm among the people of China. People-to-people ties are always special.
Posted by Narendra Modi on Wednesday, May 13, 2015
And on YouTube:
by Alex Linder
[Images via NetEase]