Technology

The danger of declaring nationalism has emerged on Chinese social media

It’s not often that ordinary Chinese people say openly that they are disappointed with their government. That they are ashamed of their government. that they want to leave their Communist Party members. And that they think that the army to liberate the people is a waste of tax money.

It is rarer that such angry comments come from the type of nationalists who usually support whatever their leaders want.

On Monday and Tuesday, many Chinese expressed their appreciation for the government’s tough words. , the military and the media trying to block the visit of President Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. After that, as Mrs. Pelosi’s plane landed in Taiwan on Tuesday night, who Some people using social media commented that they were disappointed with Beijing’s lazy response.

There is no military action in the Taiwan Strait, because they feel that they have been expect. No shooting down, no missile attacks, no fighter jets flying next to your plane. Mrs. Pelosi. Just condemning and announcing some military exercises.

Many people complained that they felt sorry and lied to the government. “Don’t show power if you don’t have power,” Weibo user @shanshanmeiyoulaichi2hao wrote shortly after the flight landed. “What a shame!”

The user continued that the government does not deserve the people who have been waiting for hours to Witness how history can be made. “A great nation. What a shame!”

The strong online sentiment reflects the confusion of public opinion that Beijing will must manage if they decide to attack Taiwan. And they showed that nationalism is a double-edged sword that can easily oppose the government. Some anti-war comments that managed to avoid the censors, if only for a moment, also opened a window on the psychological impact of the Ukrainian war on the Chinese people.

Some users compared the People’s Liberation Army to China’s men’s football team, drawing laughter across the board. The country because it entered the World Cup only once. They scoffed at the announcement that the PLA would conduct military exercises near Taiwan. “Save some gas,” said one WeChat user, while another replied, “It’s so expensive now.

On WeChat, the comment section for a short video about military exercises has become a forum for disgruntled people to whine. Among the thousands of comments, some Communist Party members said they wanted out. from shame. One military veteran said he may never talk about his military experience again. “Too angry to sleep,” commented user @xiongai.

The comment section was later closed.

Many users seem particularly disappointed with the State Department. Weibo user @shizhendemaolulu wrote in reference to the language the State Department spokesperson used about her: “When China says ‘seriously condemns’ and ‘seriously announces’, it’s just for the fun of ordinary people like us. Pelosi’s visit.

User wrote “Very strict when it comes to domestic governance and lies in foreign affairs,” “Extremely disappointing!”

On Wednesday afternoon, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Hua Chunying answered the question about the disappointment. of the people by saying that she believes that the Chinese people are reasonable patriots and have confidence in the country and their government.

The Chinese Communist Party has been using nationalism as a tool of governance since the time of Mao. Mr. Xi Jinping, the great leader of China now, has reached a new level. Kevin Rudd, chief executive of the Asia Society and former prime minister of Australia, wrote in his book “The Avoidable War: The Danger of Catastrophe. The conflict between the United States and Xi Jinping’s China.”

The unification of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that Beijing considers part of the territory, with The mainland is the center of Chinese nationalism.

But as Mr Rudd and others have argued, it has sometimes proved difficult to control. Control the nationalist when it is released from the bottle. He wrote, “This problem has become bigger under Xi Jinping, because of the national demand. Popularity has moved from the margins to the center of China’s propaganda machine across the board.”

The online backlash this week is an example.

Most Chinese did not pay much attention to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan until Monday afternoon, when official and semi-official statements led many to believe China could take tough, possibly military, action to stop it.

Zhao Lijian, the Foreign Ministry spokesman who may be China’s most famous “wolf warrior” diplomat, warned the United States on Monday that the PLA will “never sit on the sidelines. China will take decisive and strong measures to protect its sovereignty.” Tai and his complete land.” On the website of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, a two-paragraph article about his comments Received 2.7 million views.

That evening, the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, which covers Taiwan, posted on Weibo that it was awaiting orders to fight and would “bury all aggressive enemies.” The post has been liked more than a million times and the embedded video, featuring footage of the bombing and explosion, has been viewed more than 47 million times.

And then there’s Hu Xijin, the retired editor-in-chief of the Global Times, the Communist Party’s leading newspaper. The biggest in promoting Chinese nationalism in the past three decades.

Hu suggested on Twitter last week that China should shoot down Pelosi’s plane if she goes. Visit Taiwan. On Weibo, he urged his nearly 25 million followers to “support all the government’s countermeasures and share the hatred of the enemy.”

He wrote on Tuesday that “we will take strong countermeasures to attack the United States and Taiwan. “It is very difficult for the Taiwanese authorities to regret.”

After Mrs. Pelosi’s plane landed in Taipei, China made several strong condemnations and announced Military exercises around Taiwan. But the lack of direct military action made many nationalists feel inadequate. Their heroes, including Mr. Hu and Mr. Zhao, lost some of their halos.

They have now mocked Mr Zhao by posting a short video of him speaking sternly on Monday.

By Tuesday evening, Hu’s Weibo account was flooded with anger, ridicule and comments. that is insulting. “If I were you, I would be so embarrassed that I dare not say another word and hide until the day Taiwan is reunified,” commented a Weibo user with the handle @KAGI_02.

Ren Yi, a nationalist blogger who studied at Harvard University, wrote a scathing op-ed on Wednesday morning, calling on Hu to regain control of his influence.

In a Weibo post, Ren said the public’s high expectations could undermine the government’s credibility. He blamed those unrealistic expectations on Hu, saying his position was taken for granted. Put it too heavily because you used to print the party’s newspaper.

Ren is not the only one who wants to remove Hu, who is a columnist for the Global Times, from his position as The most influential journalist in China. Other commentators and social media personalities also asked him to take responsibility. Hu wrote on Weibo early Wednesday that he would become a “punching bag.”

But some comments also indicate that Mr. Hu Chin Thao is only part of China’s response to the visit. of Mrs. Pelosi, and suggested that any criticism directed at him could be a sign that The government may look for a scapegoat.

There are also anti-war voices on Chinese social media. Some have argued that only online warmongers should be sent to the front line. Some parents are worried that their children will be recruited. Others try to urge their compatriots to look at Ukraine and Russia to understand that war means death and economic destruction.

Zou Sicong, a writer who traveled to Poland in the past few months, urged people on WeChat to have a real understanding of the war, saying that he had learned about what ordinary Ukrainians and Russians had experienced.

He said people should be happy that nothing happened on Tuesday night. “You should feel lucky that you can still run your business, pay your mortgage, go to work tomorrow, get tested for Covid and live,” he wrote. “Please pray for yourself and your loved ones that we get out of this approaching storm unabated.”

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