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CNN Question “What Do You Think Is the Main Reason Behind the US Campaign against Huawei?” Goes Trending on Weibo

The fact that the majority of participants in a CNN poll on the Huawei case labels the issue as being “politically motivated” has become top trending on Weibo today.

Manya Koetse

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The Huawei case is an ongoing topic of discussion on Chinese social media. This time, a poll held by CNN is top trending on Weibo: the majority of those participating said the US campaign against Huawei is all about politics.

Trending on Weibo today is a segment of CNN’s Quest Means Business, in which news anchor Richard Quest asked the CNN audience “What do you think is the main reason behind the US campaign against Huawei?”

The news item focused on a recent BBC interview with Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (任正非), who stated that the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) – the founder’s own daughter – is politically motivated.

In January of this year, the US Justice Department officially filed charges against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile.

Among many other things, US prosecutors allege that Huawei launched a formal policy in which bonuses were offered to employees who succeeded in stealing confidential information from competitors.

The Department also filed criminal charges against Meng Wanzhou, who was detained in Canada on December 1st of 2018 during transit at the Vancouver airport at the request of United States officials. She is now out on bail in Canada.

The Huawei case has triggered worldwide discussions on the security risks posed by Huawei’s equipment and mobile networks, with authorities in various countries reassessing Huawei’s role in 5G networks.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told BBC that “there’s no way the US can crush us.” He also said: “The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

 

ALL ABOUT POLITICS?

“Your viewers are just as smart as we thought they were”

 

Quest invited the audience to reply to the question “What do you think is the main reason behind the US campaign against Huawei?” Via CNN.com/join, viewers could choose between the options “security,” “politics,” “business,” and “something else.”

The anchor explained the answers to the question as follows: “Is it security, as Donald Trump and the administration claims? Is it politics? Does it have something to do with protecting American business? Or something entirely different?” He later added: “So security concerns? Or politics? In other words: the US just wants to bash China? Or business – the US wants to protect US cooperations?”

As the answers to the question came in, the “politics” box immediately filled up to 100%, with the presenter, seemingly surprised, saying: “So far, 100% of you are saying it is politics!”

The news anchor then briefly spoke with business & technology correspondent Samuel Burke, who stated that if Ren Zhengfei would vote in CNN’s poll, he would definitely pick “politics.”

Burke also stated that the US campaign against Huawei might be a mix of all aforementioned motives and that “the lines were completely blurred” after US President Trump stated he might use Meng Wanzhou “as leverage in the negotiations with the Chinese.” Trump’s statements on using the arrest of the Huawei CFO as a “bargaining chip” were already made in December of last year.

Answering the anchor’s question on whether there was a “legitimate risk,” Burke responded: “There’s always going to be a risk, but you could also argue that there is a risk from American equipment.” He later added: “There’s always risk, it’s just about figuring out how big that risk is.”

When the poll then came to a 58% majority of viewers choosing “politics” as the main motive behind the Huawei campaign, Burke noted that “your viewers are just as smart as we thought they were,” motivating this comment by arguing that the US has no natural companies to take the spot of Huawei, so that protectionism of American companies is definitely not a reason behind the campaign.

 

“SMART VIEWERS”

“Anyone could see this is politically motivated”

 

On Weibo, the hashtag “Even CNN anchors say their viewers are really smart” (#连CNN的主播都说观众真聪明#) came up with 8.5 million 9,8 million views today, ending up in the top 10 trending topics on Weibo. The topic was also promoted by various state media such as Global Times (环球时报).

Many commenters were surprised with the fact that CNN, or its viewers, would ‘side with’ China in this matter: “They even know it themselves!”, some wrote.

“How nice that America has freedom of speech,” some netizens noted, while others said: “Foreigners like to critique their own governments, and the media is one method to attack their authorities.”

“Of course it is political: America thinks that Huawei and the government cannot be separated.”

“This poll is to be trusted,” the commenter in the screenshot below said: “This is definitely politically motivated.”

“Actually, it is so clear, that anyone could see this is politically motivated,” economy expert Yu Fenghui (余丰慧) wrote on Weibo: “Ren Zhengfei’s daughter was framed by America, yet he won’t yield and lets his strong voice be heard. I really admire that.”

But there are also some commenters who say that the fact that CNN suddenly seems so “friendly” towards China has nothing to do with China per se, but more so with the fact that it is Trump who is opposing China in this matter (literally: ” CNN has always been unfriendly to China. Is this now because Trump is standing opposite China?”).

There are also dozens of Weibo users who, besides rejoicing in the fact that viewers seem to ‘support’ China, also praise the American TV programme, writing: “This programme is quite daring, and the American people are reasonable. We could never have such an objective programme in China.”

“They have no Great Firewall; if they want to understand an issue they can just look it up.”

For now, Meng Wanzhou is still out on bail in Canada, reportedly staying at a family residence in Vancouver. In time to come, Canadian courts are expected to hear arguments to decide whether to comply with the US extradition request for Meng to stand trial in the US federal court.

Watch the CNN video here.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Joseph DUrso

    February 23, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    An effort on the part of the anti-China mafia to poison negotiations on a US-China trade agreement.

  2. Avatar

    Michael Stewart

    February 27, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Meng will never get a fair trial in the USA. This is a case which is politically motivated. The USA is hoping to make China lose face and possibly steal Huawei’s trade secrets. Meng should simply leave Canada and Chinese should avoid traveling to western nations as they might be kidhapped like Meng was. The USA sanctions on Iran are wrong anyway so I will proudly buy Huawei phones knowing that I am both supporting the Chinese Communist Party and Ayatollah Khameini

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China Insight

From Hong Kong Protests to ‘Bright Future’ – The Top 3 Most Popular Posts on Weibo This Week

These are the most-read posts on Weibo this week.

Manya Koetse

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The three most-read posts on Weibo over the past week – an overview by What’s on Weibo.

The protests in Hong Kong have been dominating Chinese social media throughout August, and the past week has been no different. Two out of three most-read posts on Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media platforms, were about Hong Kong this week.

A wrap-up:

 

#1 Hundreds of Hong Kong Taxi’s Flying Chinese National Flag

Image shared by CCTV on their Weibo account.

While Hong Kong is gearing up for the 13th consecutive weekend of mass anti-government demonstrations, there are no signs of the protests fizzling out any time soon.

The Hong Kong protests started in March and April of this year against an extradition bill that would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people wanted in mainland China, and have intensified over the past weeks.

Although authorities in mainland China initially remained quiet on the topic, the Hong Kong demonstrations have been dominating the trending streams on China’s popular social media platforms for all of August.

Through videos, online posters, and slogans, Chinese state media have propagated a clear narrative on the situation in Hong Kong; namely that a group of “separatists” or “bandits” are to blame for the riots that aim to “damage public security” in Hong Kong and are “dividing the nation.”

News outlets such as People’s Daily and CCTV are sharing many stories that emphasize the One China principle and praise the Hong Kong police force. Those voices in Hong Kong speaking up for the police force and condemning protesters using violence have been amplified in Chinese media.

One story that became the number one trending post on Weibo this week is that of dozens of Hong Kong taxi drivers hanging the Chinese national flag from their cars (video).

On August 23, the taxi drivers reportedly formed a rally against violence at Tsim Sha Tsui, waving the flags and putting up signs saying “I love HK, I love China.”

The hashtag “500 Hong Kong Taxi’s Hanging up Chinese National Flags” (#香港500辆的士挂上国旗#), hosted by CCTV, attracted over 700 million views on Weibo. The CCTV post reporting on the event received over half a million likes and 47000 shares.

The commenters mostly praise the Hong Kong taxi drivers for “standing up for Hong Kong” and flying the Chinese flag.

In English-language media, it has mostly been Chinese state media reporting on the rally. Xinhua, Women of China, ECNS, and Global Times all reported on the August 23 peace rally.

CNN only shortly reported how “a number of taxis have been spotted driving around the city displaying Chinese flags — something that has not happened on this scale during previous protests” (link).

 

#2 ‘Bright Future’ Title Song for Upcoming Movie ‘The Moon Remembers All’

Over 266.000 Weibo users have been sharing a post by Chinese actor Li Xian (李现) on the title track for the new Chinese movie The Moon Remembers All or River on a Spring Night (Chinese title: 春江花月夜).

The upcoming movie itself is a very popular topic on Weibo recently, attracting 430 million views on its hashtag page alone. The movie just finished shooting and will be released in 2020.

The song titled “Bright Future” (前程似锦) is sung by Taiwanese singer Chen Linong (陈立农) and Li Xian, who are both the leading actors in the fantasy movie. The song was released on August 29.

The Moon Remembers All is produced by Edko Films and directed by Song Haolin (宋灏霖), also known for Mr. Zhu’s Summer (2017) and Fatal Love (2016).

 

#3 Interview with Hong Kong Pro-Beijing LegCo Member Junius Ho

The third most popular Weibo post of this week comes from Xia Kedao (侠客岛), a popular commentator account for the People’s Daily Overseas Edition, and concerns a live broadcasted interview with Hong Kong lawmaker and Legislative Council (LegCo) member Junius Kwan-yiu Ho.

Junius Ho (何君尧) is known as being ‘pro-Beijing’ and stirred controversy earlier this summer when a viral video showed him shaking hands with men wearing white T-shirts who allegedly were linked to the mob attacking people at the Yuen Long MTR station on July 21.

Xia Kedao describes Junius Ho as a “straightforward” politician who “speaks out for justice” and denounces “reactionaries.”

In the August 28 interview, that was live-streamed on Sina Weibo and later also written up, the Hong Kong legislator discussed the background of the protests.

Ho argues that the people with “ulterior motives” used the extradition bill for their own power struggle, distorting and exaggerating the facts behind the regulation.

The politician also partly links the protests to a “weak national consciousness” in Hong Kong due to its education curriculum and says that there have not been enough legal consequences for those participating in illegal activities and riots.

Thousands of commenters on Weibo write that they appreciate Ho for speaking out against the “pro-independence riot youth” and praise him for his “deep understanding” of mainland China.

By now, Junius Ho, who is also active on Weibo with his own account, has gathered more than half a million fans on his page.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Media

CCTV Launches Dramatic Propaganda Video Condemning Hong Kong Protests, Praising HK Police Force

This CCTV video leaves no doubt about what narrative on the Hong Kong protests it’s trying to convey.

Manya Koetse

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This week, while the protests in Hong Kong were intensifying, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV published a video on its social media channels in support of the Hong Kong Police Force. The hashtag used with the video is “HK Police, We Support You!” (香港警察我们挺你#).

“Evil will not press [us] down! A Sir [HK Officers], 1.4 billion compatriots support you!” is the sentence used to promote the video.

The video was initially issued by Xiaoyang Video (小央视频), CCTV’s short video platform, on August 13. There is a Cantonese and a Mandarin version of the same video, which is spread on various channels from Weibo to Bilibili, from YouTube to iQiyi.

“Hong Kong is not a place you can do whatever you please with” is the other message promoted in the video, that uses words such as “terrorists” and “bandits” to describe the Hong Kong protesters.

The sentence that Hong Kong is not a place “to do whatever you like with” (“香港,不是你们为所欲为的地方”) comes from one of the movie scenes incorporated in the video (Hong Kong movie Cold War 2 / 寒战2).

The video is a compilation of footage using TV dramas and movies combined with actual footage from the recent protests.

By using spectacular images and dramatic film scenes, the video conveys a dramatic narrative on the Hong Kong protests, clearly portraying the Police Force as the good guys fighting against evil.

As the video is being liked and shared by thousands of web users on various platform, one popular comment on video platform Bilibili says: “No matter whether it’s a natural disaster, or a man-made disaster, we can overcome this.”

Some of the footage used in this video comes from Firestorm, a 2013 Hong Kong action film (the first 3D Hong Kong police action film). Hong Kong police thriller films Cold War and its sequel are also used, along with Hong film The White Storm (2013), Shock Wave (2017), Tactical Unit: Comrades in Arms (2009), Kill Zone (2005), crime drama Line Walker, L Storm (2018), Project Gutenberg (2018), The Menu (2015), and Chasing the Dragon and its sequal (2017/2019).

All of the fictional segments are from made-in-Hong Kong productions.

Watch the propaganda video here.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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