Modi’s Weibo account abuzz with curry, controversies

Updated: 2015-05-15 16:21


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BEIJING - Ten days after the first entry by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service, his account has attracted more than 65,000 followers.

Modi is on his first visit to China from Thursday to Saturday. Prior to his visit, the Indian prime minister posted his first Weibo entry, which reads "Hello, China! I'm looking forward to interacting with our Chinese friends at Weibo," on May 4.

The post has so far attracted 12,000 comments and was retweeted 8,900 times with messages of welcome pouring in from Chinese Internet users.

"Welcome to China, Mr. Modi. Wish your visit in China a success. This is a sincere greeting from an ordinary citizen in a west China region," wrote Weibo user "JiaqiDdeweibo" on Friday morning.

"Looking forward to your visit, and welcome to Xi'an, where the Chinese monk Xuanzang translated the sacred scriptures of Buddhism he brought from India. This place symbolizes the time-honored friendship between China and India, which dates back to thousands of years ago," said user "Anyuanwanghuan."

Xuanzang, a noted Buddhist monk of the Tang dynasty, started his journey to India in 627 A.D. and stayed there for years to study Buddhism.

"Both China and India are ancient civilizations and the two countries should carry on the friendly exchanges," reads an entry by "fengyujuanchungui."

Some also expressed interest in Indian culture, from traditional clothing like the sari to Bollywood, tourism and curry.

"Why not treat the first 100 followers at your Weibo to some curry?" joked a comment by "Sam-ZZZZ."

Some called on the prime minister to ease the country's visa policy for Chinese travelers.

Others touched on misunderstandings and disputes between the two countries, calling for a proper solution to the problems and peaceful development of China-India ties.

"We are so close, but we know little about each other. Hope you enjoy your visit! And it will definitely bring more communications and understanding between Chinese and Indians," a user wrote in English.

Before Modi started his visit, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also used his account at Weibo to express best wishes to Modi for his Chinese tour. Modi replied with thanks.

As of Friday morning, Modi's Weibo has 16 entries, all of which are in Chinese.

India embassy in China confirmed that the account was opened to "promote communication with Chinese brothers and sisters" and that words on his Weibo account have been examined and approved by Modi personally.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Modi in Xi'an, capital city of Shaanxi Province and Xi's hometown, on Thursday afternoon.

Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang will also meet him in Beijing on Friday.