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“Black Friday” – Chinese Reactions On 26/06 Deadly Attacks

Three gruesome terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait left the world shocked on June 26, making international headlines. Chinese netizens follow the news with horror.

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Three gruesome terror attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait sent shock waves through the world on June 26, immediately making international headlines. Chinese netizens following the news take their shock and anger online.

On the morning of June 26, one man was beheaded and two injured near Grenoble, France, in a suspected Islamic attack on a gas facility. The attack immediately became international breaking news.

Reports suggest that two attackers drove into the factory carrying a flag with Arabic writing on it. French President Hollande stated a body had been found, along with a severed head with a message. He said a suspect had been arrested and identified by the anti-terror police, and is said to be known to police since 2006 as a person who could become radicalized and was in contact with Muslim fundamentalists.

The attack comes five months after the terrorist attack on French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. France has seen a string of suspected and confirmed Islamist terrorist attacks in the past three years. Chinese media closely followed the Paris attacks in January, with ‘Je Suis Charlie’ (‘Wo shi Chali’ 我是查理) also becoming trending on Chinese social media.

The France attack was followed by the news of Islamic terror attack in Kuwait, where 25 people were killed. Around the same time, at least 28 37 tourists were killed on the beach of Sousse, a popular tourist destination in Tunisia. A suicide bomber allegedly attacked a resort with a Kalashinikov gun with another gunman, shooting at sunbathing tourists.

Financial Times reports that although the attack in Sousse has not yet been claimed, Isis spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani reportedly urged followers to turn Ramadan into a time of “calamity for the infidels (…) Shia and apostate Muslims”, in an audio broadcast on Tuesday, where he asked Muslims everywhere to “become exposed to martyrdom” (FT).

Within a couple of hours, June 26 has unfolded as an unprecedented day in terrorism.

 

“Only the fear of total extermination will make them step back.”

 

The attacks were immediately covered by Chinese media (although other news on Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang dominated the main headlines). Weibo netizens reacted to the news in various ways, with some calling it “Black Friday” (黑色星期五), and many talking about the fear for Islamist violence, the failure of anti-terror measurements and the state of the world today.

“The world just gets less peaceful all the time,” one user said. “So horrible, a massacre of unarmed people. Terrorism is the enemy of all of mankind!” says Maitian. “Eternally concealing and bending will not stop terrorism,” user Youdaoyuxin (佑道余心) says: “Only the fear of total extermination will make them step back.” “And this during Ramadan[怒]!” one user angrily writes.

 

“The 21st century is the century of the rise of Islamist terrorism.”

 

Many users foresee a grim future in terms of terrorism and preventing it. “France has five million Muslims,” user StellaZhang200 says on the Grenoble attack: “and it is the country with the most severe terrorism. Since the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the government has dispatched 1000 police and 10500 military staff to do 24 hour patrol of over 8000 places, including Jewish schools, railstations, media buildings and mosques, but it has not prevented this terrorist attack. It is clear that these anti-terrorism measures are useless.”

There are also those who share their fears, worries or anger on the topic of Islam-related terrorism: “Every time something like this happens, I haven’t seen a single Muslim coming out to denounce these barbarious acts, yet they do expect us to reflect on our wrongdoings,” another user (南汀一水) says. One anonymous user (专心金融) says: “The 21st century is the century of the rise of Islamist terrorism. Attacks, explosions and massacres by Muslims. This is an irreversible trend in history, like Germany’s Nazis’s and Japan’s militarism; when the people, the funds, the ideology and the military force all line up, a violent trend takes shape. This trend is that Islam declares war on all people, and won’t stop until all religions are destroyed. China needs to be prepared.” Another netizen (火山白杨) says: “I predict that this was all premeditated, and that it is only a rehearsal of a large-scale transnational attack. [衰]

 

“ISIS is also destroying Xinjiang.”

 

Other Weibo users blame the US for today’s events: “ISIS has come into existence due to America’s support, and ISIS is also destroying Xinjiang. The real terrorist organization in this world is the United States of America.” Xinijang is the region in the northwest of China, home to the majority of China’s muslims. Xinjiang has seen a series of violent attacks in the recent years, that have been linked to ISIS.

“How did ISIS start?” another user says: “America? Saudi? Who is clear about this!?[怒骂]

Some netizens do not show their views – they simple light a cyber candle for the victims of this bloody black Friday [蜡烛].

By Manya Koetse

Quotes:

“世界越来越不太平.”

“太坏了。这完全是屠杀“手无寸铁”的人啊。恐怖主义是全人类的公敌.”

“遮掩与奴颜婢膝永远不能阻挡恐怖袭击的发生,只有毁教灭族的恐惧能让他们却步”

“大斋月里的[怒]

“每次发生恐怖事件,就没见着个吧穆斯林站出来义正辞严地谴责那些畜生,他们却还要我们反思我们做错什么了.”

“21世纪是伊斯兰教恐怖狂潮的世纪,穆斯林将会疯狂地屠杀、爆炸、袭击。这是不可逆转的历史趋势,就像德国纳粹和日本军国主义,当人员、资金、思想、武力 都齐备的时候,就是暴力趋势形成的时候。这个趋势最终的结果是伊斯兰教向全人类宣战,直至宗教毁灭才会停止。中国要全国排查穆斯林,做最坏准备。”

“估计是预谋好的,算是为日后更大规模跨国同发袭击做 Rehearsal [衰]

“ISIS是美国政府扶持起来的,祸害新疆的也是ISIS,美国真是世界上最大的恐怖组织.”

“IS这个组织是怎么来的,美国、沙特比谁都清楚![怒骂]

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Restrained Anger

    July 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    This is why so many people will forever refuse to mingle with Pakistanis and African Muslims in Europe.

    In Europe they also have the double whammy of being lower class, and lacking the education or middle class image Hindus, Arabs and East Asians have.

    Blackness indeed. Thank god I’m gay and I don’t have to deal with blacks.

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China Arts & Entertainment

Li Xuezheng Defies Online Celebrity ‘Blacklist,’ Says He’ll Help Zhang Zhehan File Lawsuit

China’s Association of Performing Arts has issued a blacklist, but Li Xuezheng questions their legal authority to do so.

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As an important voice within the industry, Li Xuezheng has spoken out against the recent blacklist of Chinese (online) performers issued by the China Association of Performing Arts. Li is willing to help one of the prominent names on the list, Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan, to file a lawsuit against the Association.

Li Xuezheng (李学政), Vice Chairman of the China TV Artists Association and Director of the Golden Shield Television Center, has published a video that has caught the attention of many on Weibo. In his video, Li questions the authority of China’s Association of Performing Arts (CAPA/中国演出行业协会), which released a black list of online celebrities earlier this week.

The list went trending on Weibo and contains 88 names of internet personalities who have been reported and registered for their supposedly bad behavior. The people on the list have either violated the law or their actions have allegedly negatively impacted society and public order (more about the list here).

The consequences for the people included in the list are potentially huge, since it not only bans livestreamers from continuing their work but also prohibits performers who were previously ‘canceled’ from entering China’s livestreaming industry to generate an income there. Through the list, CAPA gives an overview of people that should be boycotted and disciplined in the industry.

One of the people on the list is Zhang Zhehan, an actor who got caught up in a Chinese social media storm in August of 2021 over attending a wedding at a controversial Japanese shrine and taking pictures at Yasukuni, a shrine that is seen as representing Japanese militarism and aggression.

Zhang Zhehan got into trouble for posting photos of himself at Japanese shrines deemed historically controversial.

Although Zhang apologized, Zhang’s account and an affiliated work account were suspended by Weibo and the brand partnerships he was involved in were canceled.

Chinese celebrities who have fallen out of favor with authorities or audiences will sometimes turn to livestreaming. Singer Li Daimo (李代沫), for example, became a livestreamer after his successful singing career ended due to a drugs scandal. But now, even such an alternative career would no longer be possible for someone like Zhang, although he was never legally convicted for anything.

News of CAPA’s blacklist was widely published, also by People’s Daily, and the measures were presented as a way to tidy up the chaotic online entertainment industry and to create a “healthy and positive” internet environment.

In his video and other recent posts, Li Xuezheng wonders how the so-called ‘warning list’ was compiled, according to which criteria, by whom it was created, and whether or not the CAPA actually has the legal power to shut people out of China’s live streaming industry.

He also raises the issue that CAPA’s live streaming branch, that issued the blacklist, is actually a business entity; so how does it have the legal disciplinary powers to impose sanctions against Chinese online influencers and performers?

Li Xuezheng in his video.

Li’s video, posted on his Weibo account on November 24, has received over 90,000 likes and was shared over 8500 times at the time of writing.

“What I don’t understand,” one popular comment says: “- are these online influencers [on the list] all members of the Association? Can the Association also punish non-members? Does the authority of the Association cover all media? On what legal basis is their regulatory conduct based?”

The China Association of Performing Arts, founded in 1988, is a national-level organization that falls under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China. It is a non-profit organization formed by performance operators and performers, according to its official website, which also states that members of the association include performance groups, performance venues and companies, ticketing companies, and more.

Since Li’s video was posted on November 24th, he received a lot of support from Chinese netizens but also faced some online censorship. Li himself posted screenshots showing that not all of his posts could be published.

It is noteworthy for someone like Li to speak out against CAPA’s blacklist. Li Xuezheng is a familiar face within the industry. Born in Shandong Province in 1965, Li has worked in China’s film and TV industry for a long time and has since built an impressive resume as a producer, supervisor, actor, and distributor. He has over a million followers on his Weibo account (@李学政).

On November 25th, Li added another post to his series of posts on the CAPA issue, saying that although his initial goal was just to make sure that CAPA sticks to the rules, he is now also prepared to help Zhang Zhehan in filing a lawsuit against the Association, since Zhang did not violate any laws in order for him to be ‘canceled’ like this. “I believe in the justice of the law,” Li writes.

Although Li received a lot of support on social media, there are also those who worry about Li himself: “You first take care of yourself,” some say, with others warning him: “Teacher Li, if you go on like this, you will lose your [Weibo] account tomorrow.”

Others are moved by Li’s courage: “I almost feel like crying reading your words.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone with this kind of overwhelming righteousness.”

For now, Li seems to be unstoppable in his goal to get to the bottom of this case; he seems to be determined to raise awareness within the industry on who is legally allowed to set the rules and who is not.

One popular comment says: “Looking at Teacher Li, I see he is fighting corruption and advocating honesty. Besides listening to the public’s opinion, I just hope law-based society will rule according to law.”

By Manya Koetse

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.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Insight

Weibo Discusses: How Has the Covid Epidemic Changed Your Life?

China’s zero-covid approach does not come at zero cost.

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It has been nearly two years since China was hit with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Like most countries in the world, the epidemic has also had a profound impact on people’s lives in China.

Life in China was already ‘normalized’ in numerous ways in April of 2020, which is when Wuhan allowed people to leave the city again for the first time since the lockdown began on January 23 of that year. Most schools reopened, theatres started to open their doors again, temporary emergency hospitals closed their doors, and a big light show was organized in Wuhan to celebrate the end of the lockdown, which was yet to begin for many Western countries.

In comparison to other countries, China has seen very few Covid deaths – the official number is below 5000, while the US number of Covid19 deaths is now over 750,000. China’s low Covid19 death toll can be ascribed to the country’s commitment to a ‘Covid Zero’ strategy.

But this zero-tolerance covid approach does not come at zero cost; China’s fight against Covid19 is still ongoing and requires constant vigilance, lengthy local lockdowns, mass testing, strong contact tracing, strict quarantine measures, and an everyday public life that includes face masks, temperature checks, and QR health codes.

The impact of this strategy and the epidemic at large was the topic of one trending topic this week titled “How Big is the Difference in Your Life Before and After the Epidemic?” (#疫情前后的生活差别有多大#), a hashtag that drew in over 320 million views on social media platform Weibo.

The topic triggered thousands of comments from people sharing their thoughts and experiences, but the post that started the discussion (@人间投影仪) simply said:

I’d like to go back to a world where we don’t need to wear masks.”

The post came with various images comparing life before and after the Covid19 outbreak.

Playing in the snow (top), epidemic worker in the snow (below).

People without masks in the cinema, waving national flags (top), moviegoers wearing masks (below).

Singing on the subway (top), masked up on subway (below).

Playing in Disneyland (top), getting tested for Covid19 in Disneyland Shanghai (below).

Another commenter (@电联吗) replied to the Weibo post:

Looking at countries such as Thailand or South Korea, they’ve already re-opened, and I can’t help but feel a bit jealous. After all, it’s been over two years since Covid19, and there’s no trend of it weakening – it only seems to get stronger instead. I’ve become numb to the daily controls and prevention of this virus. I’m getting the feeling it’ll never go away. Will there ever come a day when other countries besides our own will lift all restrictions? To fully open? To just co-exist with the virus? And then, should we just continue to go on this way? Although our country is so safe now and our epidemic control is very timely, it still feels like people are living in fear. The slightest thing can cause a panic about the virus spreading. It can totally disrupt your plans. All activities can be delayed or canceled. All youthfulness, enthusiasm, perseverance, and dreams, can be stuck. But life is also very important. This perhaps is what is such a contradiction.

While many netizens agreed with the previous commenter, saying they are also struggling with anxiety and pressure that comes from the current Covid19 situation, there are also commenters who do not agree:

The freedom you see [in other countries] is not real. The opening up in many countries is simply because their economy otherwise can’t carry the weight, it’s not because they want to live with the virus. You think the epidemic is affecting your youth and passion, but I’d say youth and passion don’t only exist at a certain time, and it won’t be affected by an epidemic – otherwise, there wouldn’t be an awakening era. In times of an epidemic, people just do all they can to keep on living.

Another Weibo user from Ganzhou writes:

During the epidemic, it seems that when I don’t go out, there’s so much to do, yet when I go out, there doesn’t seem anything to do. At the time of the epidemic I wanted to go out so bad, I almost felt like exploding, and then when [measures] relaxed, I didn’t really feel like going out anymore. Before the epidemic, I liked to go out to eat a lot and whatever I wanted to eat I could have without doing anything. During the epidemic, I discovered I could fry chicken, make my own nuggets, and discovered skills I didn’t even know I had. Before, I wanted a two-month winter holiday, and then I got 4-6 month holiday I never could’ve imagined. I used to feel like not working, and then I felt so panicked without work and really wanted to work. Before, I never thought I could study at home and then discovered I could study till night. In the end, I still want to return to a world where we don’t need to wear masks.

Other commenters also look back on the pre-Covid19 with nostalgia:

I once thought 2019 was the most difficult year. But it was actually the happiest one of the last three years. Because there was no epidemic and we were free to go out as we pleased. We didn’t have to rigidly stick to our face masks, and there were no complicated processes to request a leave of absence.”

Then there are those who are longing for simple pleasures of the pre-covid era, such as this Weibo user (@柴柴鱼与柴):

I want to travel out of Shanghai and to other countries without any fear, I want to take off my mask in the theaters so that the performers can see when I am crying or laughing, or when I’m admiring them and cheering for them. I want to shout out during live performances and music festivals, I want  concerts to be able to be organized without issues, and I don’t want my twenty-something years to slip away in an era of masks and epidemic.”

Some also comment on how differently they experience the passing of time during the pandemic, like the original poster of the hashtag (@人间投影仪):

I have the feeling that since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, these past two years just went by in a flash. I don’t really have any memories that stick. But then when I look at photos from before covid19, it feels like a different life.”

But then there are also those who defend China’s zero-covid approach, saying (@风的节奏吹):

Everyone wants more freedom. If the world would’ve copied China’s homework, the epidemic would have ended long ago.

And (@种花家的兔子要嚣张):

Seeing so many people talking about (..) how others are opening up, are their countries populated as densely as our country is? With [us being] one-fifth of the world population, are you kidding me? If we’d open up, and you get sick and need to pay for your treatment, would you want that? Only if your country’s social benefits are so good, you’re able to be unreasonable on social media. Already now, there’s too much pressure on people at the basic level, do you even realize? If you say you feel envious, just move to another country and experience it for yourself, just don’t come back here spreading the virus!

One of the most popular comments in the top threads on this comment currently says:

If other countries had started to control it [the virus] like our country, we might not have to wear a mask now.”

Meanwhile, the hashtag “An Illustrated Handbook of the Maskless Era” is also getting many views on social media (#无口罩时代图鉴#), with people sharing photos and videos of the pre-covid19 times. Even ordinary everyday scenes from the subway in the pre-covid19 era are making people feel nostalgic: “I’m just cherishing the memory of those days.”

Read more about social trends relating to Covid19 in China here.

By Manya Koetse

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.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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