Official Chinese social media accounts forced to delete posts mocking India’s Covid-19 death toll
An official Communist Party body and the public security ministry were hit by an online backlash for posts contrasting Chinese successes with mulitple pyres.
The attempt to pander to nationalist sentiment appears to have backfired as the Chinese government has offered to help its neighbour in its time of need.
Published: 9:30pm, 3 May, 2021
Images of multiple funeral pyres have become a symbol of India’s Covid-19 crisis. Photo: AFP
A social media post by a Chinese Communist Party organ that mocked India’s Covid-19 death toll was deleted after it triggered an intense backlash at home and abroad.
As India continues to grapple with massive surges of Covid-19 cases, Beijing has sought to project the image of a benevolent power abroad, but such efforts have been undermined by agencies that have tried to take advantage of the situation to pump up nationalist sentiment at home.
In a post on Weibo on Saturday, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the party body that controls the courts and police, juxtaposed the image of China’s most recent space launch with the caption “China lighting a fire” and a picture of Indian funeral pyres with the caption “India lighting a fire”.
The image was deleted later that day after it was criticised both at home and abroad for its insensitivity.
The Ministry of Public Security, which has 31 million followers on Weibo, also posted a similar message on Friday comparing the image of an emergency hospital in Wuhan named Huoshenshan (which means fire god mountain), with a photo of a mass cremation ground in India. That post has also been deleted.
A social media post from an account linked to the Chinese Communist Party has sparked controversy for appearing to mock India over its coronavirus crisis.
The post on Chinese site Weibo showed an image of a rocket launch in China alongside a photo of the bodies of Covid victims being cremated in India.
Text with it read: “Lighting a fire in China VS lighting a fire in India.”
The post, which appeared on Saturday afternoon, has since been deleted.
It was reportedly published by an account belonging to an official Chinese law enforcement agency – the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission – which has millions of followers on Weibo, a popular microblogging site in the country.
Users responding to the post, which was later shared using screenshots of the original, wrote that it was “inappropriate” and that China “should express sympathy for India”.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times media outlet, wrote: “Hold high the banner of humanitarianism at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on a moral high ground.”
The Weibo post appeared a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the country’s deepening Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Xi said China was willing to enhance co-operation with India and provide any additional help where needed.
India is struggling to cope with a devastating second wave of coronavirus, with hospitals battling to treat patients amid a chronic shortage of beds and medical oxygen.
On Sunday, India recorded a daily coronavirus death toll of 3,689 – the highest since the pandemic began.
It came a day after the country became the first to record more than 400,000 new cases within a 24-hour period.