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Nehru, Tagore helped shape today`s China

Last Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 14:19

Beijing: Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath
Tagore have figured in a list of 60 "most influential
foreigners" who have played a profound role in shaping the way
over 1.2 billion people of modern China think and live.

"Whether intentionally or accidentally, directly or
indirectly, positively or negatively, they have become
important pieces of the China puzzle – helping shape and
globalise the nation," the state-run `Global Times`, a sister
publication of the ruling Communist Party`s `Peoples Daily`,
said while releasing its list.

The inclusion of Nehru in the list is being seen as
significant as some Chinese experts accuse him of triggering
the 1962 war. Nehru is listed 19th.

The first Indian prime minister and China`s then foreign
minister Zhou Enlai were the architects of the famous
`Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai` slogan of the 1950s. However,
Sino-Indian relations soon witnessed a downturn in 1962 when
the two Asian giants clashed in a brief but bloody war.

Tagore is listed 11th and is the only poet figuring in
the list. Tagore, whose works have been widely translated in
Chinese, has been chosen among the foreign literary figures.

Interestingly, among the 60 people in the list, there is
only one woman, Margaret Thatcher, the `Iron Lady` of Great

The list, published ahead of the 60th anniversary of the
founding of the People`s Republic on October 1, says that 70
per cent of the finalists were selected by Internet users and
30 per cent were recommended by academics from the prestigious
think-tank, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The newspaper balanced the results from Internet users
and experts to finalise the top 60.

While erstwhile Soviet leaders like Vladimir Lenin, Joseph
Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Ivan Arkhipov cast a heavy
influence on the Chinese in the 1950s and 1960s, leaders from
the Third World like Nehru, Josip Broz Tito and Ho Chi Minh
also formed close relationships with China, the paper noted.

Stating that all the foreigners selected had exerted
their own profound impact upon modern China, the paper added
that "(Karl) Marx and Lenin enlightened China; Richard Nixon
and former Singapore president Lee Kuan Yew promoted China;
Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton have impressed generations of
Chinese; and Michael Jordan and Bill Gates became idols of
young Chinese."

"These foreigners and many others have helped push China
forward in areas of politics, economics, culture, science, and
even the way Chinese think and live," it said.

In the last six decades, Chinese society transformed from
politics-centred to economy-oriented culture. Of the 60, the
big political and military names can be found in nearly every
important period of history, but the Cold War era contains the
most, with Fred Truman and Stalin symbolic of that period.

Lenin, the paper said, got the largest online votes while
David Beckham also received many such votes.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 14:19
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