While the border remains tense, Mirror speaks to a few Indians based in China to know what life is like in the country at a time when ties between the two nations are plumbing a new low.
Suranjana Roy Bhattacharya, 49
“My husband came to Shanghai for a four-year assignment in 2008, and when it was time to return, he changed jobs so we could stay on. That’s how much we like this place,” says Bhattacharya, who’s from Kolkata.
It’s an Asian country with first world infrastructure, “so you get the best of both worlds,”says the journalist-turnedfreelance writer. “You can’t imagine the construction activities and upgrading that go on. Buildings to buses, everything looks new. It’s also very green.” There’s an upbeat vibe in cities as well as the interiors of the country, and there is little visible disparity of wealth. “I love how old people spontaneously put on music and break into a dance on the streets or do Tai Chi.”
The state, she says, plans extensively to help the most vulnerable. “For instance, post pandemic, there have been micro-specific policy actions to help businesses recover. Taxes are being restructured in such a way that people get actual monetary relief. It’s one of the major reasons why China has turned around so fast.”
采访者1：苏兰贾纳 · 罗伊 · 巴塔查里亚 49岁，住在上海
Amit Waikar, 44
The vice-president of Döhler Group has clocked a decade in China with his family and even turned down an opportunity to move to the US. “It was a bit of a shock for my boss,” says Waikar, who received the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award from President Ram Nath Kovind last year.
Also, most importantly, there’s a clear line between politics and business. “This is what defines the Chinese. For them, business is god,” says Waikar, who hails from Nagpur. “Their strongest political opponents — Japan, Taiwan and the US — are also their biggest business partners. Once you recognise and respect this, dealing with them becomes uncomplicated. And like us, they value connections a lot.”
There’s no hostility when it comes to India, either. “People in mainland China don’t know much about the 1960s, and there’s barely any mention of the current stand-off in the mainstream media.” Waikar and his wife, Aparna, especially appreciate the respectful attitude towards women. “I see smartly dressed young women managing toll booths on highways at 3 am and they have nothing to fear. It makes me wonder when we’ll have that in India,” he says.
采访者2：阿米特 · 威卡尔 44岁 住在上海
Dr Deepak Hegde , 50
The chief technology officer with EOC Pharma has been working in the pharmaceutical research sector in China since 2007. “The country has a very strong indigenous new drug research sector, thanks to its policies on innovation, patents and incentives,” says Deepak Hegde, who’s from Thane. “Biotechnology is one of the key strategic areas for the government, and they have projects locked down for at least the next 10 years.”
Concerns over strained international relations post the Covid outbreak haven’t slowed them down. “Here, the backlash is widely seen as political because of the stand-off with the US. But there’s no negativity in the scientific field. Three Covid-19 vaccines are already in phase III of development,” says Hegde, adding that the levels of Chinese professionalism and civility never fail to amaze him. “As Indians, my family and I have never experienced hostility during political tensions between the countries. People are always respectful and welcoming.”
Hegde adds that the Chinese government’s systematic handling of the lockdown has been exemplary. “Remember, the pandemic struck here in the end of January during the Chinese New Year, when millions travel across the country,” he points out.
“Despite the mass migration, the government managed to control it with the help of infrastructure, technology and the application of artificial intelligence. The 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan was built in 10 days. Medical insurance is provided by the state, and the quality of healthcare at government hospitals is comparable to India’s best private hospitals.”
采访者3：迪帕克·海格德博士 50岁 住在上海
Anuja Dorle, 43
The education system in China is as robust as it gets, says Dorle, who holds an administrative position at the Shanghai American School. In a cosmopolitan city like Shanghai, there are many international schools catering to different syllabi. Local schools are either bilingual or instruct in Chinese. “Public school education is excellent. The standard of education at even ordinary public schools is high,” says Dorle, who moved to China from the US in 2010, as her husband, Samir’s job took him there.
Diversity and inclusion is managed through policies. “Organisations, schools and colleges included, have regulations to filter out racism and genderrelated biases,” says Dorle, who hails from Aurangabad. Schools strive to have a 50-50 ratio and the education about equal treatment percolates into daily life as well. “As a woman, you never feel unsafe.”
The warm-heartedness of the people made Dorle feel quite at home, even before she picked up what she calls “survival Chinese” — basic linguistic skills. “When people spot my mother or mother-inlaw in saris, they make an effort to interact, despite the language barrier, sometimes even take a picture”
采访者4：阿努贾 · 多尔 43岁 住在上海
AK Raj, 54
The ex-banker from Borivali has been living in Shanghai with four generations of his family — his mother and grandson live there, too — since 2013. And he is all praise for the civic governance machinery. “I don’t have to complain about clogged drains or waterlogged roads. Everything from healthcare to education to transport runs like clockwork,” he says.
Raj says that contrary to popular belief, he has seen little sign of corruption. “I worked in the finance sector and I didn’t come across it. The police don’t harass you, cabbies don’t overcharge… A taxi company, we once used, even returned a lost passport and refused to take any money as reward,” he shares.
Politics, however, is off limits. “As long as you don’t talk about or criticise the government, foreigners are very welcome. The locals too, feel they need not worry their head about politics — it can be handled by the leaders in Beijing,” he says. “People here seem happy to work for the Communist government. And, unlike in India, they don’t spend hundreds of millions on elections.”
采访者5：阿克·拉杰 54岁 住在上海
Varun Hadkar , 34
Varun Hadkar, who has a home in Juhu, believes that since his move to Beijing in 2015, the Chinese has shown him how to attain perfection at work. “They have a single-minded focus and aim to do the best job possible,” he says.
Hadkar, who works with an organisation that focuses on the production and post-production of movies and web shows, is seeing a transformation in Chinese cinema. “Romantic dramas and mythological and historical films are very popular. Indian films are too: 3 Idiots, Dangal and Andhadhun were blockbusters, and most cab drivers know at least a couple of Bollywood songs,” he says. “But now Chinese movies are exploring off-beat genres, especially science fiction. The production value of their films matches that of Hollywood films.”
The pandemic has brought the business to the cusp of a huge change. Movies are not only finding their way to OTT platforms but to TikTok as well — Xu Zheng’s Lost in Russia has become a sensation on the platform. “The government has announced tax rebates, which really help us,” says Hadkar, adding that he feels Beijing — and China, in general — handled the pandemic very well. “There was a total lockdown and every time you went out of the building, you had to scan a QR code and get your temperature checked.”
Hadkar loves his life in Beijing and says that people open up very readily if one is conversant in Chinese.
“The young generation is making an effort to learn English, but older people, too, will try to communicate if you know the language even a little. Like Indians, they are a family-oriented people, so I’m always being invited to dinners, parties and weddings.”
采访者6：瓦伦·哈德卡尔 34岁 住在北京
The Chinese don't mix business with politics, that's something I can say based on so many direct experiences.
The Chinese dream is about raising their standard of living and maintaining national stability so they may enjoy it. Any border skirmish their army has is to truly safeguard their primary goal, national development. OBOR/BRI also feeds into that goal.
They are so dedicated to this that the IMF estimates they will see a 1% GDP growth this year and 8% growth next year while most nations can expect 4-10% loss to their GDP this year and at best 4-5% growth next year.
Up until the late 1930’s the Muslim league under Jinnah were for a united India, and rebuked young Muslim men in Britain who asked him to form Pakistan as British agents. What made him change his mind and embrace the Pakistan movement still exists today, 80 years later.
You are correct that the mindless selfish attitude held by many in India is what holds back the potential for prosperity. Many people around the world have learned and embraced the Nobel prize winning concept by John Nash; we must do what is best for ourselves and the group to have the greatest outcome. China is living proof, while the law of the jungle (might makes right) still rules in India.
国际货币基金组织估计，今年中国的 GDP 将增长1% ，明年将增长8% ，而大多数国家今年的GDP将减少4%至10%，明年最多增长4%至5%。
你是正确的，许多印度人持有的盲目自私的态度阻碍了经济繁荣的潜力。世界各地的许多人已经学会并接受了约翰 · 纳什的诺贝尔奖获奖理念；我们必须做对我们自己和团队最有利的事情，才能取得最大的成果。中国就是活生生的例子，而丛林法则(强权即真理)仍然在印度占据统治地位。
A comparison to India, you can see what is rationality and what is not.
Indian media and politicians tend to sensationalize every small event and incident and use them to their own advantage or hurt their opponents. In Chinese those matters are just what they are, no more, no less, they never affect our normal lives or change our behavior towards certain peoples.
India and China relationship does not carry the same baggage as India and Pakistan relationship carries.
Indians do not see Chinese as enemies but many Indians do see Pakistan as an enemies for different reasons.
You are mistaking media hype with reality on ground.
Most of the Indian media is controlled by the west. Hence they have a vested interest to create a wedge between India and China.
But Indians neither see China as an enemy nor are boycotting Chinese products.
That's not true.
Modi himself play down the conflict and went public saying that China did not occupy any Indian land.
Indians do not hate Chinese. Why is it so hard to understand. We see Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and South East Asian as our dharmic cousins.
I am not sure about the popularity of Indian movies in China but Chinese movies are quiet popular in India.
I watch Chinese movies whenever I get an opportunity (a couple every week).
Media in India is not under the control of the government. Most of the media in India is controlled by the Western countries. Hence there is vested interest in media to whip up the passions.
The worst part is, most narratives from Indian media and politicians are based on emotion, lies. India as a country has lost the spirit of respecting truth.
For example, the hottest topic in India now is boycotting made-in-China. But no one ever asked simple opposite question: What if China stops exporting to India? Will India economy be paralyzed?
If we talk about trade between India and China, then China's trade with India was just 3 billion dollar in 2001-02 which reached 87 billion dollar in 2018-19. Looking at the last 04-05 years, China's share in India's total trade has been quite significant.
But, If anything is the most worrying thing in India-China trade, then it is India's export. India's total exports in 2015-16 were $ 262.29 billion, of which only $ 9.01 billion was exported to China. In 2018-19 India’s total exports of $ 330.08 billion, only $ 16.75 billion is exported to China. Means we export only 5.08 percent of total exports to China.
India has exported cotton, ORGANIC CHEMICALS, CHEMICAL PRODUCTS ore, MINERAL FUELS, MINERAL OIL, fish and crustaceans to China in the last 02 years. India's trade deficit with China has always been a problem. That is, they buy goods from China many times more than what they export to China. They trade deficit with China is still above $ 53 billion.
Thanks for reading !
Fasil K K Cholakkara
I am Indian, lived in Malaysia last year, now living in china. China doing good at public transportation system and infrastructure than India. I would say way ahead. But there are so many things india better than china.
hospitals and care in india Better than china.(comparing hospitals in kerala with hospitals in shenzhen) Of course if you want free or less price medications from india those hospitals may be not so good.
Internet. (Internet is available to everyone in china but quality not so good, many international websites blocked)
You have work more time/hard to have an easy life in china.(for Chinese also) But in India not that case. I have seen people in India do nothing but they live till 80.
For Indians my vote goes like this..
Hope i can live longer in other countries soon and update this answer..
But you should not compare the standard of living in kerala ( like the hospital ) to china. Since national standard living is less compared to kerala
India is not even one of the top 15 exporters in the world. Its top five exports are natural resources.
China’s long history of corralling capital and marshaling labor let it manage a complex capital-intensive and export-driven growth model for a very long time. Everything from landmasses to Chinese farmers were, and still are, unceremoniously removed to make way for government priorities. Not so in India. In India no one is able to consistently pull together the needed levels of capital, labor, and land to address chronic deficiencies and develop new capacities. In 2020 the possibility of an Indian export and investment led growth model is long since past and was never really a possibility in the first place. Severe import dependence appeared before any export success. The country has far more capital and organizational needs just to develop its export sector, let alone a diversified economy, than it has local resources to accomplish the task. As a result, India has a declining export market share that has barely kept up with the declining growth in world exports.