Anti-Semitism on the rise in China online and in state media | ET REALITY


Hu Xijin, an influential commentator and former editor-in-chief of Global Times, a Communist Party newspaper, responded to an Israeli minister’s harsh remarks directed at Hezbollah, the powerful militia in Lebanon, writing on Chinese social media: “Oh , take it easy. , Israel. “I’m worried that you’ll erase Earth from the solar system.”

At times, anti-Israel comments took on a nationalist tone. In a widely viewed post, an influencer with 2.9 million followers on the Chinese social media platform Weibo said he would choose to call Hamas a “resistance organization” rather than a “terrorist organization,” according to his own account. label that China gives to the group. He went on to accuse Israel of being a terrorist organization because its airstrikes in Gaza had caused civilian casualties.

A Chinese state broadcaster recently hosted a Weibo discussion page claiming that Jews controlled a disproportionate amount of American wealth. Many of the responses were filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes and comments that downplayed the horrors of the Holocaust.

Shen Yi, a prominent professor of international relations at Fudan University, compared Israel’s attacks to acts of aggression carried out by the Nazis. Among the comments on recent posts on the official social media account of the Israeli embassy in China were similar comparisons of Israelis to Nazis.

It is difficult to say whether the anti-Israel positions in state media and anti-Semitism on the Chinese Internet are part of a coordinated campaign. But China’s state media rarely deviates from the official position of the country’s Communist Party, and its Internet censors are closely attentive to the wishes of its leaders and quickly remove any content that sways public sentiment in an unintended direction. , especially in matters of such geopolitical importance.

After a relative of an Israeli diplomat was stabbed in Beijing this month, Chinese censors limited the spread of the news by restricting hashtags in search results on social media. Chinese police said the victim was stabbed by a foreigner. It was unclear why the restrictions were implemented.

“If China felt it was dangerous and problematic to allow anti-Semitic comments to flourish, the censors would prevent it. Clearly, the government is sending the message that it is tolerated,” said Carice Witte, executive director of the SIGNAL Group, an Israeli think tank focused on China.

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