China’s state-run propaganda newspaper Global Times repeatedly gloated this weekend over the widespread destruction by radical leftists in the United States, claiming on Monday that “Chinese netizens are cheering” looting and vandalism.
The propaganda newspaper’s top editor, Hu Xijin, led the charge in celebrating terrorist activity in the United States, comparing it to the largely peaceful pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which pro-China authorities have violently repressed.
Arson and looting began to take place in Minnesota this weekend, allegedly in protest of the killing of state resident George Floyd at the hands of police. Despite police officers in several parts of the country joining peaceful protests against police brutality, far-left agitators engaged in round-the-clock destruction of businesses and residences, including the burning down of an affordable housing complex in Minneapolis.
Terrorists also left water bottles filled with gasoline and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs) throughout Minneapolis, according to that city’s police department.
“Protests and chaos have spread from the U.S. state of Minnesota to the rest of the country, and Chinese netizens are cheering,” Hu Xijin wrote on Monday.
“Nearly no Chinese netizen sympathizes with U.S. police officers. The Minnesota governor who claimed that the chaos is manipulated by ideological extremists and foreign forces is being mocked,” the propagandist asserted. “The reason for this is that the U.S. government and Congress have been supporting the riots in Hong Kong.”
China strictly controls the content on its social media outlets, most prominently WeChat and Weibo. No posts against the Communist Party survive on either platform for long, and many who post these statements disappear into the extremely violent Chinese legal system. Among the most prominent examples of this in recent memory was the arrest of Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang after he posted tips for protecting against infectious disease in a private WeChat channel in January. At the time, Chinese authorities were denying that the Chinese coronavirus was contagious. After being forced to issue a humiliating apology for urging doctors to wash hands and wear protective gear, Li died, allegedly of Chinese coronavirus infection, in February.
The Global Times did not note the stranglehold on content the Communist Party has on social media when reporting that “netizens” were allegedly using Chinese platforms “to mock the double standards and hypocrisy of the Trump administration.”
“The Chinese language hashtags ‘#US Riots’ and ‘#US riots spreading to 22 states’ received more than 1.74 billion views and more than 290,000 discussions on China’s Sina Weibo social media platform as of press time,” the Global Times claimed, without informing the reader that the Communist Party has the ultimate say in trending topics on Chinese platforms.
In his column, Hu called the riots “retribution” for support offered to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, fighting increasingly brazen violations by Beijing of its promise to allow Hong Kong to remain autonomous following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom in 1997.
“Washington supports rioters in Hong Kong, while now it is slapped in the face by violent protests across the U.S.,” Hu wrote, adding a self-congratulatory note that, allegedly, “My tweets in the past few days have received enthusiastic responses on Twitter.” The Chinese Communist Party bans regular citizens from using Twitter, but elite Party propagandists regularly abuse it to spread communist misinformation globally.
Hu’s Twitter feed this weekend has largely consisted of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters have infiltrated riots in Minnesota and elsewhere. On Sunday, Hu claimed that the Hong Kong protest movement had “masterminded” the U.S. riots.
Twitter has not limited access to these posts or “fact-checked” them as it has done with statements by the President of the United States:
I highly suspect that Hong Kong rioters have infiltrated American states. Attacking police stations, smashing shops,blocking roads, breaking public facilities, these are all routine in their protests. Vicious HK rioters obviously are mastermind of violent protests across the US😡
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 31, 2020
At a more official venue, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, the conspiracy theorist who first floated the idea that the U.S. army caused the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, urged during his regular press briefing on Monday that America “face up to the U.S. domestic racial issues.”
Zhao also followed the Global Times lead and conflated the peaceful Hong Kong protesters with the far-left rioters.
“Many people may want to ask the same question: Why the U.S. side [sic] glorifies Hong Kong radical rioters and secessionists as ‘heroes’ and call those US people who protest against racial discrimination as ‘rioters’?” Zhao said. “Why the U.S. side criticizes Hong Kong police’s civilized and restrained law enforcement while threatens to fire gun shots [sic] to the domestic [sic] protesters and even deploy U.S. National Guard to suppress them?”
“Black lives matter and their human rights should be guaranteed,” Zhao reportedly said.
The Chinese Communist Party has faced intense criticism globally, especially from African states, for widespread racism in the southern city of Guangzhou, where most of the nation’s black population resides. Throughout April and May, reports surfaced of law enforcement and local businesses using the Chinese coronavirus outbreak to abuse and discriminate against black people. Landlords began evicting black people en masse, claiming they were carrying the Chinese coronavirus, and hotels refused to take them in despite their ability to pay for a room, resulting in footage of the streets of Guangzhou full of African residents sleeping on the ground. Restaurants put up signs stating they would not serve black residents. The few who kept their homes experienced police “quarantining” them despite testing negative for coronavirus.