China-India border clash should not be allowed to impact cultural exchanges

By Ai Pang Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/18 16:49:38

Promotional material for Indian movie Super 30 Photo: Courtesy of Maoyan


Promotional material for Indian movie Super 30 Photo: Courtesy of Maoyan

For years, the relations between China and India have been growing closer and closer through hit Bollywood films released in China and the increase in the number of Chinese travelers visiting India. However, rising tensions between the two countries in recent weeks and the recent border clash have started to change things. 

Amid these rising tensions, some Indian netizens have even begun to call to "boycott China" and the products "Made in China." This coupled with Indian media's overreaction when reporting on the China-India border clash has just worsened the situation even further. 

Such irrational moves are sure to give rise to unpredictable consequences for China-India cultural relations. 

It's hard to believe that these hateful comments and opinions from some Indian netizens on social media platforms like Twitter are coming from the country shown in movies such as Dangal, Secret Superstar and Hindi Medium, which depicts the people of the country as honest, friendly and modest. 

Many people like me who have never been to India were starting to form a good impression on our neighbor through the characters in these Bollywood movies, who are good fathers, caring and considerate people and willing to speak out on behalf of disadvantaged groups.

Chinese and Indians share the same feelings toward life; we value peace and hope to live quiet lives with our families free from war and conflict. Hate does not solve problems; instead it only creates more hate and hurts both sides. 

China has been growing into the largest overseas market for Bollywood film, contributing millions of dollars to India's film industry and economy. 

Exclusive statistics from Maoyan, China's leading ticketing and rating platform, shows that the top 10 grossing Indian movies have earned nearly 3.5 billion yuan ($494.9 million) in total in the Chinese mainland, among which Dangal starring Aamir Khan harvested nearly 1.3 billion yuan, making it the most profitable Bollywood movie in history and actor Aamir Khan the biggest Indian star in China with more than 1 million followers on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, where he is known by the nickname Mi Shu or Uncle Mi by fans. 

Moved by the bold tackling of social topics like the sharp gap between the rich and the poor and educational equity as well as care for vulnerable groups, Chinese audiences have not only paid to watch these good films, but also highly rated and praised them. 

The average score of the top 10 highest-grossing Indian movies is 9/10, much higher than many hot Hollywood blockbusters such as The Avengers series' 8.7/10, according to data from Maoyan. 

Hateful calls such as "boycott China" are behaviors that "repay good with evil." So, to Indian people and its media, stop spreading hate speech and remain restrained like us so as to give both governments enough time and space to solve this clash. 

All in all, when things go back to normal after COVID-19 passes, I still hope to be able to sit in cinemas for a movie like Hrithik Roshan's Super 30, which is said likely to be the first Bollywood film to release in China after cinemas reopen. 

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