Just as the demonstrations on George Floyd’s death started to become peaceful once again, the US government accuses China as opportunistically using the protests as propaganda on social media. China’s propaganda is prevalent in the Mainland. It is believed to sway the opinions of both the domestic and international community in favor of the government.
Over the course of the past weeks, multiple Chinese personalities used social media to voice out their opinions on the US protests. Many have indicated that the US has a ‘double standard’. This is after the US publicly condemned protests in Hong Kong but cannot outrightly control protests in their own home. Especially so since there is a human rights issue (on police brutality) and anti-racism problem as well.
It is easy to look back that many Americans have publicly criticized the Chinese government for imposing stricter laws on Hong Kong. This is America’s way of showing camaraderie for their fellows on the other side of the world.
The Chinese on US Protests
According to reports, multiple Chinese users on social media (like Twitter and Facebook) openly criticize the US after the protests. Many users questioned whether they should rally up the Chinese government to glorify on-going demonstrations. This is in the same way that a number of American politicians revered protests in Hong Kong. These posts seem to imply that the US government’s response to the demonstrations is hypocritical.
The DPRK has issued a rare official statement to stand in solidarity with China over Hong Kong:
“The US is in no position to criticise China over HK or human rights when Washington threatens to ‘unleash dogs’ to suppress anti-racism protests at home.” https://t.co/eaoCRn5C5F
— Qiao Collective (@qiaocollective) June 11, 2020
The US government claims that China uses US protests to justify the on-going unrest in Hong Kong. State media from China continue to show images and videos of the US riots to their local news outlets. There are even news articles online chiding their readers to reconsider if the US government truly is a ‘friend’ to Hong Kong protesters. This may be a reference to a time when Hong Kong protesters waved the American flag while in a demonstration against the Chinese government.
There are claims that many social media posts from multiple eastern account holders not only openly criticize the on-going protest, they also criticize the actions of the US government. This may be a backlash of President Trump’s harsh criticism of China regarding the ongoing health pandemic. In the latest news, Senator Pompeo publicly called the issue “laughable propaganda” that “should not fool anyone”. It has caused an uproar on social media where Senator Pompeo received harsh comments from the public.
The ‘beautiful sight’ difined by US politicians has eventually extended from Hong Kong to the US. Now they can witness it by their home windows. I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the US, like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong? pic.twitter.com/tvg0kyK8j0
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 30, 2020
Is it really China’s Propaganda?
It is difficult to prove which posts from different individuals on social media are troll-made. But one thing is clear – it is not always China’s propaganda. How outsiders view comments from Chinese citizens may always ‘look’ like propaganda as an effect of their government pushing for unity and nationalism. Nevertheless, anyone is entitled to their own opinion on such trivial matters.
The age of social media gives anyone an outlet to easily publicize their views or opinions. Yes, the Chinese government may be using images and videos of the US riots to show their criticism of the US government’s action on the issue. However, it is difficult to say whether these individual posts on social media is an adverse effect of that.
Twitter against Propaganda
This claim may be even more intriguing as Twitter removed what has been tagged as ‘deceptive’ accounts linked to China and Russia. All in all, they have removed more than 30,000 twitter accounts which has history posting malicious political information. There were reports that many Twitter accounts from China were hacked. This was after widespread criticism of the government’s efforts to sustain the coronavirus pandemic in the earlier months of 2020. Hacked accounts were then reported to publicize government supporting propaganda. The removal of these ‘hacked’ accounts is now Twitter’s way of protecting its users.
It may be China’s propaganda to influence their citizen’s views on such brutality. On the other hand, it may be a way for the residents of China to support their government. Whichever it is, it is unclear at this point. What is undeniable is that the #BlackLivesMatter protest is a reflection of racism issues that happens all over the globe. How the US government handles it is subject to the criticisms not only of China but of people who suffer from the same racial issues throughout the world.