On the Weibo micro-blogging platform, the account posted a photo of the Chinese Long March-5B rocket taking off, alongside a photo of cremation pyres burning at night in India under the surveillance of people in hazmat suits.
“China lighting a fire against India lighting a fire,” the caption read, along with a hashtag stating that Covid-19 cases in India had exceeded 400,000 per day.
The account that posted the photos is linked to the Central Committee on Political and Legal Affairs, a powerful organ of the ruling Communist Party, which oversees the country’s courts and law enforcement agencies. Several other government accounts run by police and local courts shared the footage.
Although nationalist sentiment against India has been high in recent months due to border disputes, many Chinese social media users have been shocked. “I can’t believe this was posted by a government account. Why do you need to use the suffering of others to underline national pride?” read one of the main comments below the post.
“How can this be approved (by the censors)? It’s a total disrespect for human life,” reads another.
Even Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a state newspaper known for its nationalist stance, criticized the post: “I don’t think it’s appropriate that the social media accounts of some Chinese official institutions or other influential forces are making fun of India at this time.”
Amid the backlash online, the article comparing China’s launch to Covid deaths in India was removed from Weibo. A hashtag for the post has also been removed. The censorship could well have been a sign of disapproval on the part of the highest ranking officers of the Party. Days earlier, President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and offered China’s aid, following a series of similar pledges from Chinese officials – all in as part of an effort to present Beijing as a supportive and responsible neighbor.
The incident is the latest example of how a clumsy attempt to stoke nationalism can strike an insensitive note.
On Twitter, Chinese “wolf warrior” diplomats frequently post controversial comments. Last week, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, released a modified version of Japan’s famous Great Wave woodcut, to condemn the release of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. in the ocean. It was criticized as insulting Japanese culture and prompted a quick protest from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
And in January, in denying allegations of forced sterilization in Xinjiang, the Chinese Embassy in the United States said on Twitter that Uyghur women had been “emancipated” from extremism and were no longer “making machines.” babies”. The post was later deleted by Twitter.
While such messages may win the support of die-hard Chinese nationalists – and perhaps the recognition of some Party leaders – it is China’s international image that ultimately pays the price. And sometimes, as in the mockery of the Indian crisis, so does Beijing’s diplomatic charm offensive.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party was defeated in the West Bengal state election in India.
- North Korea has warned the United States that it will face an “uncontrollable crisis in the near future.”
- The Australian government is facing backlash over the rules which could see citizens returning home from India facing up to five years in prison.
- Meanwhile, in China, a man sailed from eastern Fujian Province across the Taiwan Strait in a grimy, successfully dodging two Marines to land on the Autonomous Island.
TikTok has finally appointed a new permanent chief executive, eight months after the head of the company announced his resignation as the United States threatened to ban the app.
The company announced on Friday that it had appointed Shouzi Chew as CEO. He is already CFO of ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok.
Vanessa Pappas, who was previously interim manager of TikTok, is moving to the role of COO.
“Shou and Vanessa’s management team is laying the groundwork for sustained growth,” ByteDance CEO Yiming Zhang said in a statement.
“Shou brings in-depth knowledge of the business and industry, having led a team that were among our early investors and having worked in the tech industry for a decade. He will add depth to the team, by focusing on areas such as corporate governance and forward business initiatives. “
Chew is based in his hometown of Singapore, which suggests that the company no longer thinks it needs a US-based executive.
Last year, TikTok faced a dramatic months-long battle in the United States after the Trump administration threatened to ban the short video platform unless it sells its American business to a American entity.
But since then, the company has remained largely out of the spotlight, with little action since US President Joe Biden took office.
– By Michelle Toh
Picture of the day
Tiananmen remembered: Activists clean a monument known as the “Pillar of National Pain” at the University of Hong Kong on May 2, 2021, in Hong Kong, to commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4, 1989 and the 102nd anniversary of the 4th of May Movement. It is not known whether the city’s annual candlelight vigil will take place in June after a national security law is passed.
A boom in “ red tourism ” for May 1
China began a five-day nationwide break to mark May 1 on Saturday, with millions taking advantage of the country’s low number of coronavirus cases to travel within the country.
According to Xinhua, 13 red tourism sites in Guangdong had received 23,000 visits on Saturday as of 3 p.m., an increase of nearly 300% year-on-year, although the numbers in 2020 may have been lower due to pandemic partially affecting travel. .
These sites can also be a welcome alternative to traditional tourist attractions: photos from the weekend showed a mob going wild at the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall in Beijing.
CNN’s Yong Xiong contributed reporting.