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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.

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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.

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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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. 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. 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 and Covid19

Confusion over Official Media Report on China’s “Next Five Years” of Zero Covid Policy

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‘The next five years’: four words that flooded Chinese social media today and caused commotion among netizens who interpreted this as written proof that China’s current Covid strategy would continue for at least five more years. But the Beijing Daily editor-in-chief has since responded to the issue, blaming reporters for getting it all mixed up.

On June 27th, after the start of the 13th Beijing Municipal Party Congress, Chinese state media outlet Beijing Daily (北京日报) published an online news article about a report delivered by Beijing’s Party chief Cai Qi (蔡奇).

The article zoomed in on what the report said about Beijing’s ongoing efforts in light of China’s zero-Covid policy, and introduced Beijing’s epidemic prevention strategy as relating to “the coming five years” (“未来五年”).

Those four words then flooded social media and caused commotion among netizens who interpreted this as a sign that China’s current Covid strategy would continue at least five more years. Many people wrote that the idea of living with the current measures for so many years shocked and scared them.

Soon after, the article suddenly changed, and the controversial “coming five years” was left out, which also led to speculation.

Beijing Times editor-in-chief Zhao Jingyun (赵靖云) then clarified the situation in a social media post, claiming that it was basically an error made due to the carelessness of reporters who already filled in information before actually receiving the report:

I can explain this with some authority: the four-word phrase “the next five years” was indeed not included in the report, but was added by our reporter[s] by mistake. Why did they add this by mistake? It’s funny, because in order to win some time, they dismantled the report’s key points and made a template in advance that “in the next five years” such and such will be done, putting it in paragraph by paragraph, and also putting in “insist on normalized epidemic prevention and control” without even thinking about it. This is indeed an operational error at the media level, and if you say that our people lack professionalism, I get it, but I just hope that people will stop magnifying this mistake by passing on the wrong information.”

Global Times commentator Hu Xijin (@胡锡进), who used to be the editor-in-chief and party secretary of the state media outlet, also weighed in on the incident in a social media post on Monday. He started his post by saying that the reporter who initially made the phrase ‘next five year’ go viral had a “lack of professionalism” which caused the overall misunderstanding.

Hu also added a photo of the relevant page within the original report that was delivered at the Congress, showing that the phrase ‘the coming five years’ was indeed not written before the segment on China’s battle against Covid, which detailed Beijing’s commitment to its strict epidemic prevention and control measures.

But Hu also added some nuance to the confusion and how it came about. The original report indeed generally focuses on Beijing developments of the past five years and the next five years, but adding the “in the next five years” phrase right before the segment was a confusing emphasis only added by the reporter, changing the meaning of the text.

Hu noted that the right way to interpret the report’s segment about China’s Covid battle is that it clarifies that the battle against the virus is not over and that China will continue to fight Covid – but that does not mean that Beijing will stick to its current zero Covid policy for the next five years to come, including its local lockdowns and restrictions on movement.

Hu Xijin wrote:

I really do not believe that the city of Beijing would allow the situation as it has been for the past two months or so go on for another five years. That would be unbearable for the people of Beijing, it would be too much for the city’s economy, and it would have a negative impact on the whole country. So it’s unlikely that Beijing would come up with such a negative plan now, and I’m convinced that those in charge of managing the city will plan and strive to achieve a more morale-boosting five years ahead.”

After the apparent error was set straight, netizens reflected on the online panic and confusion that had erupted over just four words. Some said that the general panic showed how sensitive and nervous people had become in times of Covid. Others were certain that the term “next five years” would be banned from Weibo. Many just said that they still needed time to recover from the shock they felt.

“The peoples’ reactions today really show how fed up everyone is with the ‘disease prevention’ – if you want to know what the people think, this is what they think,” one Weibo user from Beijing wrote.

To read more about Covid-19 in China, check our articles here.

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly 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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China Health & Science

“Experts Are Advised Not to Advise”: Why Weibo Users Are Fed Up with ‘Expert Advice’

Experts say this, experts say that, but many social media users wish experts would say nothing at all.

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Over the past week, the topic of “experts are advised not to advise” (建议专家不要建议) has been trending on Chinese social media. The topic came up after netizens got annoyed over a bunch of news items containing contradicting or ungrounded advice and suggestions from ‘experts.’

One column published by Worker’s Daily stated that three different expert advice topics went trending on Weibo on the very same day, on May 19: “Experts recommend young people not to spend all of their family money on a downpayment for a house,” “Experts advise buying a house is more profitable than renting,” and “Experts suggest that from June to October is the best time to buy a house.”

‘Expert advice’ goes trending on Chinese social media on a daily basis in hashtags. The source is mostly Chinese state media quoting an expert’s opinion on a certain topic.

Looking at some Weibo hashtags including the ‘experts suggest that..’ sentence include: “Experts advise to go to bed between 10 and 11 pm”, “Experts suggest not to eat too much at night,” and “Experts advise not to do new year’s resolutions in January,” “Experts recommend not to wait to drink water until you’re thirsty,” “Experts advise to release the ‘Three Child Policy’ asap”, “Experts suggest that eating too many mandarin oranges will turn the skin yellow,” “Experts advise single rural men to move to the city,” “Experts recommend retirement age to be set to 65,” “Experts advise national exam’s foreign language subjects to change into a chosen subjects,” “Experts advise not to use air fryers too much,” and many, many more.

According to this Weibo column, the most common topics that experts give their recommendations about are eating and drinking, sleep, childbearing, education, retirement, women’s issues, young people, and housing.

“Advise experts not to advise” sign (Image via CFP供图, Bwanjia)

The main reasons why people are getting tired of ‘expert advice’ headlines are that alleged expert views are often used by (state) media to publicize their own standpoints or views. Others are also concerned that some ‘experts’ are only speaking out on certain topics because they are getting paid for it, and then many people think that self-proclaimed experts are giving unfounded advice.

Another reason why expert advice is becoming much-dreaded is that experts are often giving contradicting advice. Instead of being helpful, their recommendations are only confusing to readers, and they only lose more trust in experts because of it.

The distrust in “experts advise” news became all the bigger when one ‘expert’ quoted in a news item by Lizhi News about the risks of using air fryers posted on Weibo herself that she was never interviewed and never even said anything about the topic at all.

By now, the hashtag “Advise Experts Not to Give Advice” (#建议专家不要建议#) has been viewed over 930 million times on Weibo.

“I advise the media not to use one expert after the other just to spread their own views,” one commenter says, with another person writing: “First of all, is there an academic degree for being an expert? Or is it a title? Is it based on years of experience, does it require an assessment? (..) Why is it that every time someone opens their mouth you say they’re an “expert” without first giving a clear account of the person’s life and background?”

“Jus advise experts not to advise anymore,” another commenter writes.

But not longer after the online discussions, Chinese media outlets started their ‘experts suggest..’ posts again, leading to the creation of a whole new hashtag: “Here come the experts again!” (#专家又来建议了#).

By Manya Koetse

With contributions by Miranda Barnes

Image via Weibo

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly 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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