Just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Beijing, a state newspaper in China has published a damning op-ed that caustically criticized the Indian leader and the Indian people on the whole. Indian readers have not failed to notice.

The article, written by Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow with the Institute of International Relations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, was published in the Global Times on Tuesday. In the article, Hu argues that Modi has been "playing little tricks"  to boost his prestige and apply pressure to Beijing.

The article then went on to lament the poor state of Sino-Indian relations  before laying the blame at the feet of Indian citizens and their media.

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"Due to the Indian elites' blind arrogance and confidence in their democracy, and the inferiority of its ordinary people, very few Indians are able to treat Sino-Indian relations accurately, objectively and rationally," Hu wrote. "Worse, some Indian media have been irresponsibly exaggerating the conflicts between the two sides, adding fuel to the hostility among the public."

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Hu also warned that Modi should not visit the disputed border region disputed by India and China, and advised the Indian government to stop supporting the Dalai Lama.

The aforementioned Indian media has not failed to notice the report, with headlines in a number of publications noting the more damning aspects of the op-ed. "It cannot be assumed that this savagely critical opinion is universally held in the corridors of power in Beijing," Sutirtho Patranobis of the Hindustan Times noted, "but the texture and timing of the write-up does throw light on how India and Modi are looked at, at least among some in the strategic circles in China."

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On Twitter, many Indian users were similarly concerned.

The Global Times is often perceived as a mouthpiece for the more hardline elements in China's Communist Party, and it's op-eds are well-known for firing insults abroad (last year one writer called Australia a nation "roamed by rascals and outlaws from Europe").

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This latest op-ed article, which come just two days before Modi is due to arrive, may seem especially ill-timed – both sides appear prepped for a friendly visit, with the social media-savvy Indian prime minister even launching a Sina Weibo account to talk to average Chinese Web users. But the Global Times also has a reputation for running hardline articles around bilateral meetings. And despite the high hopes for the visit, vast tensions remain between Beijing and New Delhi.

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