Chinese internet users have flooded a social media account run by the US embassy in Beijing with angry comments over its military conflict with Iran.
The tirade began after Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone attack approved by US President Donald Trump on Friday in Iraq.
Under a post on the embassy’s account on Weibo – China’s Twitter-like platform – in which US Secretary of State Mike Pomepo’s quote, “the world has become a safer place” since Trump made the “right decision” to kill Soleimani was translated into Chinese, people described the US as “shameless” and “the most hypocritical country” in the world.
“The US is the largest terrorist group in the world!” said another post. “China is the safest place in the world”.
Beijing has sought to position itself as a peacemaker in the ongoing conflict. Though after the Chinese foreign ministry said it opposed the killing of Soleimani, it did not criticise Iran for its retaliatory attack on US bases in Iraq.
The ministry later appealed for both sides to show restraint and said it was committed to boosting relations with Tehran.
Meanwhile, a post on the Iranian embassy’s Weibo page made after the missile attacks on US bases received thousands of likes and positive comments in Chinese.
It featured an image of the Iranian flag and the caption: “This is the beginning to the end of the US’ evil influence in Western Asia.”
“Run on, brother!” said a comment that received more than 33,000 likes.
“[We] support Iranians in fighting the top terrorist in the world!” said another.
On the US embassy site, one person seemed bemused as to why such a flood of anti-American comments was being tolerated, saying: “To my surprise, the US embassy has not set limits on their comment section, what kind of weird operation is this?”
The embassy responded by saying: “We welcome Chinese netizens’ comments and questions on our Weibo page. We are always happy to hear your voices! As long as you follow our social media regulations for the page, our comment section will always be open. We are looking forward to critical discussions and debates, which possibly include both support and criticisms on US policies.”
However, sending threats via the comments section was not acceptable, it said.
Weibo is closely monitored by the Chinese authorities, and the company that operates it also self-censors comments deemed critical of Beijing or the Chinese Communist Party.
I’d rather live with a good question than a bad answer.