Video Editors: Kunal Mehra and Mohd Ibrahim
Beyond the cacophony of social media platforms in India on the ongoing Indo-China border conflict and behind the Himalayan mountain ranges, Chinese social media has been vocal on every development in the issue.
Messaging app WeChat and microblogging platform Weibo have seen a growing engagement with the recent clashes of the People’s Liberation Army with Indian forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the subsequent ban on 59 Chinese apps. Thousands of overseas Chinese nationals as well have taken to Twitter and Telegram to register their voices.
Experts monitoring Chinese social media trends point out the steady emergence of dissenting voices and a growing clamour for more information on Chinese casualties in Galwan Valley alongside other geopolitical issues in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
From questions like “where is Ladakh” to decoding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the Galwan Valley clashes, his visit to Ladakh and his withdrawal from Weibo, India’s position has attracted wide debates and discussions among Chinese social media users.
‘Age of expansionism’ - that’s a very interesting term used by Modi. https://t.co/Lq4UP8ToOt— Aadil Brar 畢諳典 (@aadilbrar) July 3, 2020
As the Indo-China tensions in Ladakh continue to simmer, The Quint spoke with three experts tracking chinese social media like Weibo, WeChat and Twitter.
Aadil Brar, journalist & China expert; Tenzin Dalha, researcher at Tibetan Policy Institute; and Shesh Sarangdhar CEO, Seclabs & Systems, a cybersecurity company that analysed 75,000 Chinese social media posts, decode how the Chinese people view the escalation and explain the trends including voices of dissent
According to Shesh Saranghdhar, these dissenting voices can be divided into three categories:
- Thinkers, strategists and journalists of Chinese origin
- People living in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan
- Strong expat networks of Chinese people living outside the mainland.
Dissent & Questions For CCP
Tenzin Dalha highlights that while India has owned up to 20 of its soldiers dying in the clashes on 15 June, the Chinese government has put forth no figures. “This had led to a call for greater clarity among users on Weibo and WeChat where the issue was discussed intensively,” Dalha told The Quint.
“Besides that, overseas Chinese nationals were also of the opinion that India and Russia are coming closer and the ties between India and China weakening,” Sarangdhar added.
Among the commentators, Hu Ping with over 221,000 followers on Twitter and Deng Yuwan with nearly 35,000 following have been of the opinion that China should exercise restraint because they reflect poorly on the Chinese administration.
On 17 June, Yuwan posted to his nearly 35,000 Twitter followers,
“China and India fired their first shots. Xi Jinping couldn't afford to be tough, but he couldn't be soft. Latest video on the Sino-Indian armed conflict.”
‘Chinese App Ban’ Trends
The other trend that has emerged on Chinese social media has been about the ban imposed by India on Chinese apps and people are widely discussing that actually.
“The hashtag #IndiaBans56ChineseApps was the second top trend on Baidu which is the equivalent of Google search engine in china,” Aadil Brar told The Quint.
'India bans 59 Chinese apps' has been searched 4.58 million times on Baidu already. pic.twitter.com/IhWADAA5iq— Aadil Brar 畢諳典 (@aadilbrar) June 30, 2020
"“It also trended heavily on Weibo. So, this has taken over the broader trend about the conflict with India and now the conversation is happening in the domain of economy and society and therefore social media users are trying to make sense of what is happening really.”" - Aadil Brar, journalist and China expert
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