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20th Party Congress: Xi Jinping’s Speech in Five Trending Hashtags

These sentences from Xi’s speech were turned into hashtags shortly after the opening of the 20th Party Congress.

Manya Koetse

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The 20th Party Congress has begun. Which key points from Xi Jinping’s two-hour address were simplified as hashtags and propagated by Chinese official media? These are the five trending hashtags that will help you understand Xi’s opening speech.

The 20th CPC National Congress is dominating all trending topics on Chinese social media today, with videos and infographics featuring parts of Xi Jinping’s speech showing up all over Weibo and Douyin and, of course, all over Xuexi Qiangguo, the app that is all about studying the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Xi Jinping Thought.

Throughout his address at the opening ceremony of the Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi Jinping spoke about various issues relating to the past five years and the future of China and the Party’s mission. The speech lasted nearly two hours, which is much shorter than the speech he gave at the 19th CPC National Congress (that one took nearly three and a half hours).

The address mentioned the challenges faced by the Chinese people and the CPC over the past years in an increasingly “complex international situation,” explicitly mentioning the Covid-19 pandemic, the unrest in Hong Kong, and the Taiwan independence movement, emphasizing that the Chinese state and Party have managed to stand strong in hard times and are still on the journey of China’s ‘New Era’ – building China into a modern socialist country. In this context, terms such as ‘national security’ and the ‘Chinese people’ were important recurring themes.

On Weibo, one hashtag referring to the speech in general received a staggering 760 million views on Sunday (“20th Party Congress Report” #二十大报告#).

Which are the parts of Xi’s speech that are highlighted on Chinese social media through hashtags? What sentences are official media channels presenting as “golden” ones?

Here are five hashtags – all quotes from Xi Jinping’s speech – that had the most views on Chinese social media platforms Weibo and Douyin on the first day of the 20th CPC National Congress. All of these hashtags have been published and shared by state media accounts including People’s Daily, China Daily, and CCTV.

These hashtags are noteworthy for multiple reasons. Firstly, these are the parts of Xi’s speech that are specifically featured and disseminated by Chinese official channels, meaning these are the key points from the lengthy speech they want Chinese netizens to understand and remember.

Turning a sentence into a hashtag gives it extra attention and changes the sentence into a simple, short, and effective propaganda tool. A hashtag can be clicked, shared, widely used, and can go trending and is thus more powerful than just a sentence alone.

Although there are more sentences from Xi’s two-hour speech that have been turned into hashtags by official channels, these are the five ones receiving the most views/clicks on Weibo and Douyin on October 16.

 

1. Solving Taiwan Issue is Nobody’s Business but China’s
#解决台湾问题是中国人自己的事#

One part of Xi Jinping’s speech that became the number one trending topic on social media platform Weibo on Sunday was about Taiwan.

During his speech, Xi spoke about Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, stressing the importance of adhering to the “One country, two systems” principle and the goal to continue promoting the reunification of Taiwan with the motherland.

While stressing China’s determination to achieve “peaceful reunification,” Xi said that “solving the Taiwan issue is up to the Chinese themselves,” suggesting that Taiwan is nobody’s business but China’s business.

This sentence particularly seemed to resonate with Chinese netizens in light of deteriorating U.S.-China relations and Nancy Pelosi’s controversial Taiwan visit earlier this year.

The hashtag “Solving the Taiwan Issue is Up to Chinese Themselves” (#解决台湾问题是中国人自己的事#) received over 350 million views on Weibo.

Despite the many clicks on the hashtag, the comment sections of most posts about this topic remained empty as Weibo has been clamping down on open discussions since the week leading up to the Party Congress.

On Douyin, the sentence “the complete reunification with the motherland will definitely be realized” (祖国完全统一一定要实现) was the number five trending topic of the day.

 

2. China Will Never Seek Hegemony or Engage in Expansion
#中国永远不称霸永远不搞扩张#

“China Will Never Seek Hegemony or Engage in Expansion” (#中国永远不称霸永远不搞扩张#) is a hashtag that was also top trending on Weibo on October 16, receiving 270 million views.

During the part of the speech where Xi Jinping said this phrase, he was talking about China’s role in the world, its foreign policy, and how China will always oppose any type of ‘Cold War thinking’ or hypocritical power politics.

This topic of hypocrisy and double standards in world politics has often come up in Chinese foreign policy over the past few years. One example is the official Chinese response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, when emphasis was placed on the role of the United States, its Western allies, and Chinese resistance against the “Cold War mentality” that had allegedly fueled the Russia-Ukraine war.

At the time, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying answered questions relating to the situation in Ukraine during a press conference. When commenting on how US State Department spokesperson Ned Price suggested that China needed to de-escalate the situation by warning Russia to “back down,” Hua responded that the US was “in no position to tell China off.” She emphasized an apparent double standard in international politics, also bringing up the 1999 bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia which killed three Chinese journalists, stating: “NATO still owes the Chinese people a debt of blood.”

The phrase about China not seeking hegemony nor engaging in expansion was already a part of the 18th National Congress in 2012, sending out a clear message to the world that China will “unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development,” and that “there is no need to worry about China’s rise.”

 

3. We’ve Experienced Three Major Events in the Past Decade
#十年来我们经历了三件大事#

The Weibo hashtag “We’ve Experienced Three Major Things over the Past Ten Years” (#十年来我们经历了三件大事#) initiated by People’s Daily, received 250 million views on October 16.

This sentence came up at the beginning of Xi Jinping’s address. Upon first hearing it, Covid-19 and the pandemic might come to mind immediately. But it is not one of the “three major events” raised in the speech.

The three things that are of great historical significance for the Party and the people, according to Xi’s speech, are the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China that was celebrated in 2021; the start of a New Era for socialism with Chinese characteristics which was a major part of the 19th Party Congress; and the achievement of China’s goal of eradicating extreme poverty as part of its poverty reduction policy.

These three major events in particular were mentioned because they are all major victories for the Party. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all comments relating to this hashtag that were not from official accounts were taken offline.

 

4. We Must Prepare Our Military Troops for War
#我们要全面加强练兵备战#

With ‘national security’ being one of the recurring themes in Xi Jinping’s address, China’s military development also came up and Xi’s words about this topic went trending on social media.

On Douyin, another sentence related to this topic – about advancing the modernization of China’s national defense and military – was top trending on Douyin (“大力度推进国防和军队现代化建设”). On Weibo, the sentence about “thoroughly strengthening China’s army troops’ training to be prepared for war” received over 170 million views.

The sentence appeared in the context of China building a “world-class army,” with a modern top-notch army being part of the overall modernization of China in its ‘New Era.’

Compared to the other hashtags in this list, this hashtag allowed for just a bit more social media discussions, with many people agreeing that military advancement is necessary since a nation’s military strength is part of its overall power.

 

5. Always Continue the Battle Against Corruption (#反腐必须永远吹冲锋号#)

Another hashtag that went trending on Chinese social media in light of Xi’s speech was related to his comments made on the Party’s necessary ongoing fight against corruption. On Weibo, this hashtag received over 21 million views. On Douyin, this was trending at no 7 on October 16 (反腐必须永远吹冲锋号).

With corruption being a major threat, the biggest “tumor” endangering the vitality and effectiveness of the Party, Xi warned that the fight against corruption must be kept up at all times.

Xi Jinping’s rule marks the launch of the largest anti-corruption campaign over the past decade in China. As long as there still is an environment where corruption can potentially grow, the fight against corruption can not be halted and must continuously go on.

Please check in with us again this week as we will keep an eye on social media trends surrounding the CPC National Congress. Don’t forget to subscribe. For previous posts on the Party Congress, check here.

By Manya Koetse 

 

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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    john mullins

    October 17, 2022 at 6:08 am

    very informative

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China and Covid19

Announced Changes in Nucleic Acid Testing and Further Easing of Covid Measures Across China

Bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate.

Manya Koetse

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On Monday, directly after that noteworthy unrest-filled weekend, the hashtag “Multiple Locations Announce Nucleic Acid Testing Changes” (#多地核酸检测通知发生变化#) went trending on Chinese social media, receiving over 660 million clicks by Monday evening.

Immediately following demonstrations in Beijing and a second night of protests in Shanghai and elsewhere, various Chinese media reported how different areas across the country are introducing changes to their current Covid19 testing measures.

On Wednesday, November 30, China’s vice-premier Sun Chunlan made remarks at a meeting on epidemic prevention, underlining the importance of “constantly optimizing” China’s Covid-19 response and talking about a “new stage and mission” – without ever mentioning “zero Covid.”

This is what we know about easing Covid measures thus far:

▶ Strict lockdowns have been lifted in Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, and Chongqing.

▶ On November 28, Guangzhou announced that people who do not actively participate in social life will no longer need to participate in continuous nucleic acid screening. This includes elderly people who stay indoors for long periods of time, students who take online classes, and those who work from home. The change will apply to residents in seven districts, including Haizhu, Panyu, Tianhe, and Baiyun (#广州7区无社会面活动者可不参加全员核酸#).

▶ Guangzhou, according to Reuters, also scrapped a rule that only people with a negative COVID test can buy fever medication over the counter.

Harbin will follow the example of Guangzhou, and will also allow people who are mostly based at home to skip nucleic acid test screenings.

▶ Same goes for Shenyang, and Taiyuan.

▶ In Chongqing, various districts have done widespread Covid testing campaigns, but the local authorities announced that those communities that have not had a positive Covid case over the past five days do not need to participate in nucleic acid screening anymore. This means an end to district-wide testing.

▶ On November 30, Beijing also announced that it will start exempting some people from frequent Covid testing, including those elderly residents who are bound to home and other people who do not go out and have social interactions. This also includes younger students who are following classes online.

▶ Starting from December 5, bus and subway operators in Beijing will no longer refuse entry to passengers without a 48-hour negative nucleic acid certificate (announced on December 2nd).

▶ Although not officially announced, there have been various social media posts and reports about Covid-positive people in Beijing being allowed to quarantine at home if they meet conditions.

Chengdu Metro announced on December 2nd that it will no longer check passengers’ nucleic acid test reports. Passengers still need to scan their travel code and those with a green code can enter. Other public places will reportedly also start to accept the ‘green code’ only without a time limit on nucleic acid testing.

Tianjin metro announced that the 72-hour nucleic acid certificate check will be also be canceled for passengers on the Tianjin metro lines. As in other places, people will still need to wear proper face masks and undergo temperature checks.

▶ In Hangzhou, except for at special places such as nursing homes, orphanages, primary and secondary schools, people’s nucleic acid tests will no longer be checked in public transportation and other public places. They will also stop checking people’s Venue Codes (场所码).

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China History

Mourning Jiang Zemin, Weibo Turns Black and White

Since the rise of Chinese social media, Jiang Zemin became a recurring part of Chinese memes.

Manya Koetse

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Following the announcement that Jiang Zemin (江泽民), the former president of the PRC, has passed away, various Chinese online platforms have turned into ‘grey’ mode as a sign of mourning. Jiang Zemin died due to leukemia and organ failure. He was 96 years old.

Besides Weibo, the home page of major Chinese websites such as Baidu, Sogou, Taobao, Alipay, Xinhua, People’s Daily, The Paper, and many others all turned into black-and-white mourning mode on Wednesday.

Bilibili turns into grey mode on November 30.

Search engine Sogou also in black and white mode.

On Weibo, one post about Jiang Zemin’s passing received a staggering one million reposts and over two million ‘likes.’ The hashtag “Comrade Jiang Zemin Passed Away at the Age of 96 in Shanghai” (#江泽民同志在上海逝世享年96岁#) had received over 2,5 billion clicks by Wednesday night.

Jiang Zemin was appointed as President of the People’s Republic of China in 1993. In the years before, the former Shanghai Party chief already held official positions as the chairman of the Central Military Affairs Commission and general secretary of the Party. In 2003, Jiang Zemin retired and was replaced by Hu Jintao (Sullivan 2012).

Since the rise of Chinese social media, Jiang became a recurring part of Chinese memes. Jiang had created a wide group of online fans, who are commonly referred to as ‘toad worshippers’ as the online phenomenon of ‘worshipping’ Jiang Zemin is called mo ha (膜蛤), ‘toad worship’ (Fang 2020, 38). The entire phenomenon has become its own subculture that is called ‘mo ha culture’ (móhá wénhuà, 膜蛤文化).

What started as a joke – nicknaming Jiang a ‘toad’ due to his big glasses, signature pants, and wide smile, – became an actual online movement of people who were appreciative of Jiang Zemin.

They loved him, not only because the former leader spoke many languages and other talents, and because of his unique appearance, but mainly because he was not scared to show his emotions, was very expressive, and good at telling stories.

One famous example of this, is when Jiang Zemin got upset with a Hong Kong journalist in 2000 and told them off using three languages (link to video, also here). The much-repeated quote “too young, too simple, sometimes naive” comes from this noteworthy moment as Jiang told journalists that they still had a lot to learn, whereas he had gone through “hundred of battles,” saying “I’ve seen it all.” This also led to Jiang later being called ‘the Elder’ (长者) by netizens.

Another popular Jiang Zemin video is when he met with American journalist Mike Wallace in August of 2000 in Beidaihe. During the interview, the two discussed sensitive topics including the Falun Gong and Tiananmen protests. The interview reportedly was one of the longest ever between an American journalist and a Chinese head of state (watch here).

A study by Kecheng Fang (2020) about ‘China’s toad worship culture’ suggests that for many online fans of Jiang, the cult around him is apolitical, playful, and part of a shared digital cultural tradition.

For some, however, it does hold some political meaning to ‘worship’ Jiang, who only became a popular online meme around 2014, after Xi Jinping took power as a conservative strongman who is not as emotionally expressive. Fang describes how one meme creator said: “We couldn’t express our criticism through normal channels, so we turned to other indrect ways, including lauding Jiang’s personality and characteristics in various ways” (2020, 45).

Although Jiang became popular among younger Chinese on online platforms over the past decade, he was not necessarily that popular at the time of his leadership, and opinions vary on the legacy he leaves behind. Jiang continuously pushed for reform and opening-up after Deng Xiaoping’s rule.

As summarized by Foreign Policy, Jiang oversaw two crucial transitions that shaped and improved the lives of the people of China: “First, he peacefully guided his country out of the shadow of China’s founding revolutionaries, who had spent decades purging one another and at times caused great pain and sorrow for everyone else. Second, although hesitant at first, Jiang came to embrace the market economy.”

As various places across China have seen unrest and protests over the past few days, the announcement of Jiang’s death comes at a sensitive time.

Many on Chinese social media are burning virtual candles in memory of Jiang Zemin today. “I will fondly recall your style and manners,” some say.

By Manya Koetse , with contributions by Miranda Barnes

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References:

Fang, Kecheng. 2020. “Turning a communist party leader into an internet meme: the political and apolitical aspects of China’s toad worship culture.” Information, Communication & Society, 23 (1): 38-58.

Sullivan, Lawrence R. 2012. Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Communist Party. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press. See page: 3-43, 208.

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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