A social media post from China’s top law enforcement agency comparing the country’s successful launch of a unit in space with a grim crematorium in India has been removed after it sparked online criticism in China.
Pictures of the Tianhe vehicle launching and burning fuel were compared to what appeared to be a mass open-air burning in India, with the caption, “China is lighting a fire versus India on fire.” The posting of the Communist Party’s Central Legal and Political Affairs Committee on Saturday on its official Sina Weibo account was accompanied by a hashtag indicating that new COVID-19 cases in India exceeded 400,000 per day.
Later that day, the post could no longer be found. Several social media users in China expressed shock and anger at the insensitivity of the post.
“We hope that everyone will pay attention to the Chinese government and public opinion that supports India’s fight against the epidemic,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in response to a request for comment. The ministry’s spokesperson’s office added that more supplies will continue to be shipped to India in the coming days, which indicates China’s support through practical measures.
Hu Xijin, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, wrote that official social media accounts should “raise the banner of humanity high at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on high moral ground.” Global TimesBacked by the Communist Party, commented on the deleted post. Hu said such tactics are not a suitable way for official social media accounts to gain traffic.
“I don’t think we can expect clarification from the account of the party in question, but I think there was no consensus on this post or it could not have been removed so quickly,” said Mania Kotsi, editor-in-chief of the Mania Kotsi newspaper. What’s on Weibo, Which is a site that tracks trends on the social media platform.
Relations between China and India have been faltering in recent months. A border dispute that killed dozens of people last year and damaged economic ties between the two countries sparked nationalist sentiments in both countries. Tensions continued despite ongoing high-level talks, with India recently urging an early disengagement from all sticking points along the border.
This did not prevent President Xi Jinping from sending a message of condolence to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and offering to provide assistance to help the South Asian country deal with the steep increase in coronavirus cases.
Another deleted post that first appeared on Friday compared the Chinese “Mountain of the God of Fire”, the name of the emergency hospital complex built in Wuhan, with a picture of a mass cremation in India on the ministry’s official account on the Chinese public security website Weibo. It was also criticized, and social media users deemed it an “ethical problematic”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday that the Chinese Red Cross Society, local governments, non-governmental organizations and Chinese companies “are doing everything they can to collect supplies against the epidemic that India urgently needs and deliver them to the people as soon as possible.”
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