India dominated headlines of the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, a video released by a Chinese state tabloid featured Indian people saying “I love China”, and 360-degree panoramic views of Chennai’s landmark sites were captured by a Chinese news agency.
Elsewhere, Buddhism, Bollywood and Aamir Khan featured in varying degrees, alongside pieces on Chennai-Fujian ties that date back to the Tang Dynasty. The Tamil film industry too caught a mention.
As the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping took place on Friday and Saturday, the Chinese state media plastered front pages and online resources with content capturing Xi’s time in Tamil Nadu.
‘Xi given warm welcome in India,’ read China Daily’s front-page headline, which noted that such a summit is “expected to enhance political trust between the world’s two most populous countries.” People’s Daily, the CCP’s official mouthpiece carried two photos on its front page of Modi and Xi shaking hands, and of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E K Palaniswami handing over a bouquet of pink flowers. “The president received a warm welcome on his arrival, with local people holding up photos of the two leaders and waving the countries’ national flags along the roads,” said a piece in China Daily.
Chinese state broadcasters offered the same level of detail as Indian news channels on describing Xi’s route to Mahabalipuram from the airport. The choice of venue was also discussed in a state media report, which said: “Though the Indian authorities did not highlight why the meeting venue was selected, analysts have said that New Delhi wants to revive the stories of centuries-old trade and cultural links between China and India to boost bilateral ties amid some thorny issues in their relations as well as the changing regional and global situation.”
In a statement in the Xinhua news agency on Saturday morning, Xi was quoted as saying the “two countries’ ancestor have overcome various obstacles to carry out extensive exchanges and promote the development of literature, art, philosophy and religion, which have greatly benefited both sides”. Xi was also quoted as urging both countries to take the 70th anniversary of China-India diplomatic relations next year as an opportunity to conduct broader and deeper cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Meanwhile, Modi was quoted as saying that the wisdom from the two countries’ ancient and profound civilizations could provide inspiration for solving various challenges facing the world today.
In a report in the China Global Television Network, Xi called for the two countries to be shouldering the broader responsibility of promoting international peace. “The ‘Dragon-Elephant Tango’ between China and India has become the only path for bilateral ties,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state-run Global Times in an opinion piece noted that though public opinion from China and India have had positive responses towards the second informal summit, “a few Western media are focusing on differences between the two. This is not unexpected. Some people in the West have been constantly driving a wedge between Beijing and New Delhi, hoping to see frictions or even clashes break out.” Further, the piece said, “Although some Indian media tend to make impulsive statements from time to time, Indian policymakers have maintained strategic rationality and geopolitical sense. Both countries have gradually formed an increasingly stronger ability to control their problems.”
By Saturday evening, Xinhua’s top story was Xi’s arrival for a state visit to Nepal – the first by a Chinese President to the country in 23 years. On the eve of the visit, three Nepalese newspapers published Xi’s article “Toward greater progress of China-Nepal friendship across the Himalayas”, which said that a trans-Himalayan connectivity network that is taking shape would serve not just China and Nepal, but the region as a whole.