Chinese scribes impressed with India

Chinese scribes impressed with India Beijing: The Chinese official media is beginning to lift its decades-long reservation on providing more coverage on India, with a number of journalists from this country travelling to Indian cities for first-hand reporting and coming back impressed.

"I find Indians more optimistic and content," a young scribe, who was part of journalists who visited India at the invitation of the Indian government, told a get-together at the Indian embassy here.

Her comments prompted Indian Ambassador S Jaishankar to ask whether she think Indians are more optimistic than their Chinese counterparts.

She said Indians appeared less complaining compared to the Chinese and seemed more optimistic, though India still had to travel some distance to catch up with China.

Over 40 Chinese journalists visited India since January last year, the highest in over the six decade-long bilateral relations, and more are going on their own to write on variety of issues of their interest.

Many of those who gathered at the reception yesterday were unanimous in their views that their visits were a revelation and eye-opener about India as they had a different perception considering the country's problems relating to poverty and underdevelopment, which often get highlighted.

A host of impressions were aired, including India's problems relating to terrorism in the aftermath of Mumbai bomb blasts, friendly nature of Indians towards the Chinese contrary to feelings of enmity and competition, poor infrastructure compared to China and strides India made in IT and Science and Technology.

While some were impressed with deep roots the democracy has taken in India, others wondered whether it was an impeding factor for development as unlike in China infrastructure projects get bogged down in litigations.

One journalist was categorical in stating that his visit highlighted the limitations for China to have friendship with India considering its own strategic ties with Pakistan.

China cannot give up its close relationship with Pakistan for strategic reasons, he said.

Another journalist was struck by the demographic dividend India is reaping. While China is beginning to saddle with growing old age population, India is bubbling with youth which could turn out to be advantageous in future.

Whatever the perceptions, Indian analysts and officials agreed that the India content in the Chinese media, which was dismal until a few years ago, was on the increase.

"There has been a change. There is more of India in heavily-controlled Chinese media, specially in the Chinese language media unlike in the previous times when India is totally blanked out," Prof B R Deepak of Centre of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, JNU, said.