søndag 20. mars 2022

Chinese article urging country to cut ties with Putin gets 1m views

When an essay from a prominent Shanghai scholar suggested China needed to cut ties with Vladimir Putin as soon as possible over the Ukraine war, the online reaction was swift.Despite being published late on a Friday evening in the Carter Center’s US-China Perception Monitor, Hu Wei’s essay soon gained a million views in and outside China, and was republished into Chinese blogs, non-official media sites and social media accounts. Then came the backlash, as the article was criticised for being “reckless and dangerous” vitriol. Personal attacks on Hu and the USCPM followed. By Sunday morning, their websites were blocked in China.

“Usually when the government or the censors don’t like a particular article – like [something published by] FT Chinese – they’ll just block that particular article, they don’t block the website,” said Liu Yawei, the director of the China programme at the US-based Carter Center. “So this is highly unusual.”

China’s position on the invasion and how far it is willing to go in supporting Russia is one of most stridently debated topics of the war, but inside China the conversation is strictly controlled, with little tolerance for dissenting views.