Indian media lampoons Xi after 'racist' Xinhua video

In the animated video produced by privately owned Indian media organisation India Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen getting enraged over a caricature of him on a TV screen dancing while dressed as Winnie the Pooh, even as Indian Prime Minis
In the animated video produced by privately owned Indian media organisation India Today, Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen getting enraged over a caricature of him on a TV screen dancing while dressed as Winnie the Pooh, even as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laughs repeatedly.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

NEW DELHI • An Indian television channel has lampooned Chinese President Xi Jinping, showing an animated version of him dancing to hit pop song Gangnam Style while dressed as Winnie the Pooh, in a video released amid a border dispute between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The video comes days after China's official Xinhua news agency released a video featuring a man wearing a turban and fake beard and mocking an Indian accent, which has attracted widespread criticism as being racist.

The new Looney Tunes-styled video was produced by privately owned Indian media organisation India Today and follows Mr Xi, dressed in military fatigues, as he tries to get Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attention.

Mr Modi is shown repeatedly laughing at something on a TV screen across a border line even as Mr Xi dispatches tanks and missiles. When Mr Xi sneaks over to the Indian side to see what Mr Modi is laughing at, he sees a caricature of himself dancing as Winnie the Pooh, enraging him.

In the Xinhua video released on Wednesday, which was entitled 7 Sins Of India and was in English, The Spark host Dier Wang explains the border conflict between India and China as New Delhi's alleged "seven sins" while continuously mocking India.

The video then cuts to an "Indian" man, who gesticulates wildly while uttering monosyllabic lines in a stereotypical Indian accent overdubbed with a laugh track.

India Today's China correspondent Ananth Krishnan had reacted to that video on Twitter, saying: "It's not okay in the 21st century to have someone dress up in a turban, mock an Indian accent. Shocking from official agency."

Sixth Tone, an English-language website affiliated with Chinese state-run news outlet The Paper, published an article criticising the video, but it was later pulled without an explanation.

Ms Yuen Ying Chang, an honorary professor and former director of the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Studies Centre, said the Xinhua video was "despicable".

"China is the second-largest economy in the world; it wants to expand its soft power. This is extremely self-defeating," she said.

On social media, reactions ranged from angry to amused, with some even hurling racist abuse at the Chinese.

"Pretty rich of you to make fun of an Indian accent, while the host here can't even pronounce simple English words," one user commented on the Xinhua video.

The two-month border stand-off between India and China at Doklam is the latest point of territorial friction between the two countries.

The dispute began on June 16, when China accused Indian border guards in the north-eastern state of Sikkim of crossing into south-western Tibet to prevent the construction of a mountain road.

This was followed by a formal complaint, or demarche, from the Bhutan government that accused China of constructing a road "inside Bhutanese territory".

China, which does not have formal diplomatic ties with Bhutan, denies the allegations and calls India's involvement in the issue "utterly unjustifiable".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2017, with the headline 'Indian media lampoons Xi after 'racist' Xinhua video'. Print Edition | Subscribe