Beijing, April 9 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou's stopover in Mumbai, India was a popular search term on a leading portal in China Monday, with a Chinese researcher pointing to the rivalry between China and India as the main reason.
As of 9:45 p.m. Monday, the news of Ma's stopover during his Africa trip was the second-most searched term on website Baidu's news page, despite little coverage of the trip in China ahead of Ma's departure Saturday.
The news of Ma making a stopover in Mumbai, instead of the previously announced Dubai, broke Saturday evening, when Ma left on a 12-day trip to visit three of Taiwan's four African allies.
His refueling stop in Mumbai Sunday morning enabled him to become the first president of Taiwan to set foot in India.
The websites of Chinese media outlets, including Phoenix TV, the Global Times and the Beijing Daily Group, have since run stories about Ma's stopover in Mumbai, citing Taiwanese media reports, and focused on Ma's remark that politics were not involved in the stopover and the lack of comment by Chinese authorities.
A Chinese scholar, who wished to remain anonymous, said Chinese Internet users associated Ma's stopover in India with border disputes between the South Asian country and China and a bilateral relationship characterized by both cooperation and competition.
If Ma had made the stopover in Dubai, there would have been much less attention given to the news, the scholar said.
The most searched news story on Baidu was the visit to Beijing by incoming Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
(By Lawrence Chiu and Kay Liu)