Within hours of joining Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attracted tens of thousands of followers.
Today, the PM announced his three-day visit to China on the popular social network which has over 500 million users. “Looking forward to visiting China from 14-16 May to strengthen friendship between our two ancient civilisations and the two largest developing countries,” he posted.
In his initial post on the microblogging service on Monday, Modi, who is active on Facebook and Twitter, wrote: “Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo.”
你好中国!期待通过微博与中国朋友们互动. Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo. pic.twitter.com/yQcKn9bqTE
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 4, 2015
By this morning, he had accumulated nearly 30,000 Weibo followers.
Some welcomed Modi. “Hello Prime Minister,” wrote one user. “Hope you will adapt to the stormy waves on Weibo as soon as possible. Looking forward to communicating with you.”
But many comments were far more confrontational. Chinese authorities impose strict censorship on social media, but nationalist sentiment is often allowed to run rife. Beijing claims the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Zangnan, or South Tibet. “Return Zangnan to us. Otherwise there is nothing to talk about with you,” said one user.