souces,latest survey on China-India relations launched by the Global Times and China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) showed that more than 70 percent of participants believe that India is being too hostile against China and nearly 90 percent surveyed support the government in retaliating strongly against Indian provocations.
If India makes more provocations in the future and launches new border conflicts against China, about 90 percent of participants support China in defending itself and striking back at India with force, but some participants (26.4 percent) also see India as a neighbor and have a “favorable impression” of them, putting the country the fourth on the list of the “most favorable neighbors,” following Russia (48.8 percent), Pakistan (35.1 percent) and Japan (26.6 percent).
The survey by the Global Times Research Center and Institute of South Asian Studies of the CICIR was conducted among 1,960 participants in China from August 17-20, executed by DATA 100, a market survey company, and covered 10 major cities across all regions of the country – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Shenyang, Wuhan, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Qingdao and Kunming.
Positive or negative?
Just over 56 percent of participants said they have a “clear understanding of India” and 16.3 percent of them said they are “very familiar” with the country, which slightly surprised some experts.
Hu Shisheng, director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the CICIR, told the Global Times that the reason why more than half of the participants are confident in their understanding of India is probably people-to-people exchanges and Indian cultural products.
Lin Minwang, deputy director at the Center for South Asian Studies of Fudan University, told the Global Times that the participants’ strong confidence in their knowledge of India is very far from the reality.
In fact, most people of our country know about the US, Japan and Europe much more than India, and most Indian people also know the West better than China, because culturally, the two countries are very different and the exchanges and communications between the two sides are much less than those they have with the West, so most people from either side are unable to see the whole picture of the other, Lin said.
Another result of this survey to some extent reflects this fact. When asked to choose their top impressions of India, 31.4 percent of participants selected “the low social status of women,” which topped the list, with the second being that India has the world’s second largest population (28 percent).
Lin said this is caused by shocking news of the dire situation facing Indian women, such as horrific rape cases that are widely and frequently reported by international media. But this reflected the fact that the Chinese public has limited understanding of a complicated India.
However, on the list of China’s most favorable neighbors, India ranked even higher than South Korea (25.5 percent) a country with a huge pop cultural influence over Chinese youth. This also showed that Chinese people can rationally separate the Indian government, which is provoking China, from the innocent Indian culture and people.
Although China and India occasionally have border tensions and disagreements on some issues like the Belt and Road Initiative and Pakistan, some Bollywood movies that China has imported from India, such as Dangal and Andhadhun, have been very popular in recent years among Chinese movie fans, and many Chinese people practice yoga in their daily lives. The survey showed that 22.3 percent of participants picked “Indian yoga” as their top three impressions of the country.
Optimism and rationalism
The survey also showed that 25 percent of the participants are optimistic about bilateral relations as they believe “China-India ties will be improved in the long term” even as 70.8 percent of them recognized that currently, Indians are being too hostile against China. This result somewhat surprised Chinese experts.
Hu said China-India relations will see lots of ups and downs, and although India is unlikely to start an all-out confrontation against China, it will make trouble occasionally in the China-India border regions.
“The optimistic attitude of some Chinese people toward China-India relations is probably based on the confidence in China’s comprehensive national strength, which is much greater than India’s. Normally, the stronger side would have a more confident and optimistic attitude to its relations with other countries,” .