By Ram Khatry
According to a recent survey conducted by a major Chinese newspaper, citizens of the communist nation would prefer Nepal and Pakistan as their neighbours but want to ‘move away India’ as far as possible from their borders. That is, if they were allowed to play God and redraw the map of their nation.
Over 200,000 readers participated in the poll run by the Chinese-language website of The Global Times, huanqiu.com. Titled ‘Select your neighbours’, the survey asked participants to make an imaginary rearrangement of the map, that is, neigbouring countries.
It had three questions: (a) What do you think a neighbour country should be like? (b) Which neighbor country do you want to move away the most and which you want to stay? (c) Which country do you want to put beside China?
Interestingly, nearly twelve thousand voters wanted Pakistant to “stay as a neighbor” as against other ten thousand plus who wanted to move away India, a country China has ‘disputes over 120,000 square kilometers of land and the two have not signed treaty to settle the border disputes’. China even regards an entire state of India, Arunachal Pradesh, as part of Southern Tibet which in turn forms part of the Chinese territory.
Moreover, both Beijing and Chinese nationalists harbour deep grudge against India for the protection the Indian government provides to His Holiness Dalai Lama and his Tibetan Government in Exile (based in the beautiful and picturesque Dharmashala). The Global Time did not even mention the Dalai Lama’s name but simply referred to him and his government as ‘some overseas Tibetan separatists’.
However, India is not the least disliked country in China but Japan is.
A total of 13,196 voters wanted Japan to ‘move away’, thanks to its ongoing border disputes in the South China Sea between the two nations. The popularity of anti-Japan television serials are another reason why anti-Japan sentiment is fueled in China, an academic told The Global Times. The respondents of the survey apparently chose to “move away Japan” because the Japanese government has not apologized over historical issues as well as the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.
Other countries that were “moved away” include the Philippines (11,671), Vietnam (11,620), North Korea (11,024), India (10,416), Afghanistan (8,506), and Indonesia (8,167).