China-Tanzania Tourism and Culture Year kicks off as Tanzania tries to attract more visitors

Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Angellah Kairuki (second from left) attends an event in Beijing on May 16, 2024. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Angellah Kairuki (second from left) attends an event in Beijing on May 16, 2024. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Tanzania, a jewel in East Africa known for its stunning natural landscapes and rich biodiversity, has recently kicked off the China-Tanzania Tourism and Culture Year in collaboration with Chinese authorities. 

The Tanzanian tourism authority is aiming for an increase in tourist numbers from China, recognizing it as a major source market for tourists. 

“We are launching targeted ­marketing campaigns in China to raise awareness about our rich natural landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage, and adventure activities,” Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Angellah Kairuki told the Global Times in a recent interview. 

“These campaigns will utilize various platforms, including social media platforms, travel websites, and traditional advertising channels.”

Partnerships and collaborations with Chinese travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, and media outlets are key components of these promotional efforts. “We aim to forge strong partnerships to promote Tanzania as a preferred tourist destination,” Kairuki said. 

Cultural exchange events, festivals, and exhibitions in both countries will also play a significant role in fostering mutual understanding and appreciation, she noted. 

Out of the tourism attractions in Tanzania, today’s Tanzania-Zambia railway is also well-known in China as the project was completed with Chinese support in the 1970s.

A popular Chinese TV drama
Welcome to Milele in 2023, which depicts the decades-old China-Africa medical aid cooperation, has also shed light on the landscape of Tanzania.

Rich heritage

Tanzania boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park and Stone Town of Zanzibar. 

According to the Bank of Tanzania’s economic review, the number of tourists who visited the country in 2023 exceeded 1.8 million, while the forex earnings reported record growth of $3.4 billion, an increase of 36 percent compared to the same period in 2022.

The China-Tanzania Tourism and Culture Year is expected to significantly boost Chinese people’s interest in and understanding of Tanzania’s tourism landscape, Kairuki stated. 

“Our dedicated focus on promoting tourism and cultural exchange will raise awareness among Chinese tourists about Tanzania’s diverse attractions,” Kairuki said. 

“Through targeted marketing campaigns and promotional events, Chinese travelers will learn about our wildlife safaris, pristine beaches, cultural heritage, and adventure activities.”

Participating in cultural exchange activities will allow Chinese tourists to immerse themselves in Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage, the minister highlights. 

“Through cultural performances, art exhibitions, traditional ceremonies, and culinary experiences, Chinese travelers will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Tanzanian culture,” she said. 

“Special events and festivals will provide unique opportunities for engagement, while collaborative partnerships will result in tailored travel packages and customized experiences.”

A view of Stone Town of Zanzibar, Tanzania Photo: VCG

A view of Stone Town of Zanzibar, Tanzania Photo: VCG

Climate change threat

The two countries, which are also celebrating the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, both recognize that climate change poses a significant threat to natural ­environments and wildlife. 

To combat these challenges, Tanzania has ­devised ­comprehensive climate adaptation and mitigation plans. 

“We are committed to investing in renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Kairuki said. 

“Our policies focus on protecting and restoring ecosystems, establishing conservation areas to safeguard biodiversity, and educating the public about climate change impacts and adaptation strategies.”

These efforts are not solitary endeavors of the government, but involve a collaborative approach with various stakeholders, including scientists and local communities, the minister noted.

“By working together, we can develop effective strategies to protect our natural environments and wildlife,” Kairuki noted, highlighting the importance of inclusive participation in addressing climate change.

Safety and convenience for tourists are paramount for the sustained success of the tourism industry. The Tanzanian government has in place plans to strengthen service guarantees for tourists. 

“We have established dedicated tourist police units in major destinations to ensure the safety and security of visitors,” Kairuki said. “These specially trained officers are available to address any concerns or emergencies that tourists may encounter.”

Sustainability matters

Sustainable tourism is a crucial focus for Tanzania. The rich natural landscapes in Tanzania require vigilant protection and management. The Tanzanian government has implemented several measures to safeguard these treasures. 

“We have established 21 national parks managed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority,” Kairuki said. “These parks are governed by strict policies and regulations to ensure wildlife conservation and responsible tourism activities.”

In addition to national parks, Tanzania has designated reserves and controlled areas where wildlife conservation is prioritized. These areas are managed by government agencies and conservation organizations. 

Community-based conservation initiatives also play a crucial role, actively involving local communities in managing and conserving natural resources. 

“This approach not only helps in wildlife protection but also ensures sustainable livelihoods for local communities,” said the minister.

Anti-poaching efforts are another critical aspect of Tanzania’s conservation strategy. 

“We have implemented severe measures to combat illegal hunting and trafficking of wildlife,” Kairuki asserts. 

“This includes deploying anti-poaching patrols, using technology like drones and GPS tracking, and collaborating with international conservation organizations.”

Beach tourism is another area of focus, with investments in infrastructure development, hospitality services, and marketing campaigns to attract water sports enthusiasts and leisure travelers to Tanzania’s pristine beaches. 

Ecotourism and sustainable lodging options, such as eco-lodges and community-based accommodation are being promoted to minimize environmental impact and support local communities.

Community-based tourism initiatives empower local communities to participate in and benefit from tourism activities, promoting sustainable development and poverty alleviation. 

“These initiatives involve local ownership, employment opportunities, cultural exchanges, and revenue-sharing mechanisms,” Kairuki said.

The sustainable development of the tourism economy is crucial for Tanzania, and the government is keen on promoting diversification in the tourism sector to reduce reliance on wildlife tourism. 

“We are focusing on cultural tourism development, highlighting traditional practices, arts, festivals, and historical landmarks,” Kairuki said. “By showcasing our cultural diversity, we attract tourists interested in immersive cultural experiences.”

One-China principle reaffirmed widely across Pacific Island Countries

A bridge built by China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co in Fiji. Photo: Courtesy of the 14th Bureau of China Railway Construction Co

A bridge built by China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co in Fiji. Photo: Courtesy of the 14th Bureau of China Railway Construction Co

In recent weeks, several Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have strongly reaffirmed their commitment to the one-China principle through various diplomatic engagements and public declarations.

From Saturday to Tuesday, Fiji’s largest newspaper, the Fiji Sun, published a series of special editions to introduce and reaffirm the one-China principle. These included an article by Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Zhou Jian, titled “One China is Undeniable Truth,” emphasizing that the one-China principle is the foundation for healthy and stable China-Fiji relations.

The special edition also included commentaries from the Chinese media, highlighting that the island of Taiwan has always been an inseparable part of China, and reaffirming the international consensus established by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy in Papua New Guinea (PNG) noted that mainstream PNG media reports have also published special sections on the one-China principle. Chinese Ambassador to PNG Zeng Fanhua contributed an article titled “Strengthen Foundation of One-China Principle, Create Brighter Future for China-PNG Relations Together.”

The sections also featured statements from PNG Foreign Ministry Secretary Elias Wohengu and other figures reaffirming their support for the one-China principle. Wohengu stated that PNG firmly adheres to the one-China policy, recognizing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legal government representing all of China and opposing “Taiwan independence,” according to the embassy.

On the same day that Taiwan’s regional leader delivered a speech on Monday, the Republic of Nauru issued a statement reiterating its adherence to the one-China principle.

“The resumption of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Nauru and the People’s Republic of China asserts the one-China principle and reunification of China. Nauru reiterates its firm support and adherence to the one-China principle, recognizing that there is but one China in the world, with the government of the PRC as the sole government representing the whole of China,” read the statement.

On Saturday, Chinese Ambassador to the Solomon Islands Cai Weiming met with recently elected Malaita Province Premier Elijah Asilaua, congratulating him on his victory and expressing China’s willingness to deepen cooperation with Malaita based on the one-China principle. Asilaua thanked China for its contributions to Malaita and the Solomon Islands’ economic and social development, reaffirming Malaita’s support for the central government’s one-China policy and the intention to enhance cooperation in infrastructure and agriculture, according to the embassy.

Newly elected Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Jeremiah Manele noted in a recent interview with the Chinese media that the decision to establish diplomatic relations with China in September 2019 is considered the most significant choice made by the country since gaining independence over 45 years ago. Manele also reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the one-China principle, according to CGTN.

On Saturday, the Chinese Embassy in Tonga published an article titled “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 Brooks No Challenge and Misinterpretation.”

“For quite some time, the separatist forces of China’s Taiwan region and certain major countries have been deliberately distorting and challenging the one-China principle and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, trumpeting the notion that Taiwan’s status is undetermined, and advocating support for Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations conferences and activities,” the article said.

These moves attempt to invent a whole set of false narratives to mislead international public opinion and trample on international law and basic norms governing international relations. “In view of this, it is more than necessary to comprehensively and systematically explain the origin and facts of Resolution 2758 to our Tongan friends, so as to set the record straight,” the article added.

On May 15, after the opening ceremony of Vanuatu’s mid-year parliamentary session, governmental leaders and officials accepted an invitation from Chinese Ambassador Li Minggang to visit the embassy.

Ambassador Li expressed appreciation for Vanuatu’s consistent adherence to the one-China principle since establishing diplomatic relations, and its support for China’s efforts toward peaceful reunification. “Currently, cross-Straits relations are complicated, with tensions in the Taiwan Straits rooted in the separatist agenda of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party authorities and external interference. Let us remain vigilant and committed to peace in the Taiwan Straits,” Li said.

Seoule Simeon, speaker of the Vanuatu parliament, urged all members of parliament to remember the reality that there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, and the government of the PRC is the only legal government representing the whole of China.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai called on government ministers to maintain unity in adhering to the one-China principle and advancing the comprehensive strategic partnership between Vanuatu and China, according to the embassy’s report on WeChat.

‘Ugly but cute,’ the new star at Hongshan Forest Zoo

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

A file photo shows the white-face saki monkey “Du Du” at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. /IC

“Du Du,” a white-faced saki monkey at Hongshan Forest Zoo in Nanjing, has captured hearts online with his unique appearance. Sporting dense black fur contrasting with a striking white face, he’s been dubbed “ugly but adorable” by fans around the world.

At Hongshan Forest Zoo, “Du Du” is not alone – he’s part of a trio, a loving family of three. Native to South America, white-faced saki monkeys show fascinating differences between males and females – the males boast a dark physique with a contrasting white face, while the females have a charming mottled brown coloration and petite size.

Come visit and witness the charm of “Du Du” and his family – an experience you won’t forget!

Mars and FAW-Volkswagen inject fresh investment in Tianjin

A glance at a production line of FAW-Volkswagen in Tianjin. [Photo provided to]

A substantial surge in foreign investment in the coastal city of Tianjin reflects the confidence of multinational corporations in investing in China.

On May 15, US-based pet food company Mars and the Sino-German joint venture FAW-Volkswagen announced new capital injections of up to 3.3 billion yuan ($456.3 million), flocking to the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area, a pivotal zone within the Binhai New Area.

On that day, Mars, the global pet care giant, inaugurated operations at its new Tianjin pet food factory, which involved an investment of $137 million.

Besides, FAW-Volkswagen signed an agreement with the administrative committee of TEDA to invest over 2.3 billion yuan to introduce three SUV models at the FAW-Volkswagen Tianjin Plant.

The production line for these models is expected to be operational by 2026.

UK inquiry: Infected blood scandal could and should have been avoided

Friends and relatives affected by the contaminated blood scandal attend a vigil to remember those who lost their lives. /Reuters

Friends and relatives affected by the contaminated blood scandal attend a vigil to remember those who lost their lives. /Reuters

The UK’s infected blood scandal that has killed 3,000 people and left thousands more suffering with hepatitis or HIV was no accident, a public inquiry found on Monday, blaming a catalogue of failures by government and doctors.

Inquiry chair Brian Langstaff said more than 30,000 people received infected blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s from Britain’s state-funded National Health Service, destroying lives, dreams and families.

The use of infected blood, despite the known risks, has resulted in thousands of victims in the United States, France, Canada and other countries, in part after U.S. prisoners and other high-risk groups were paid to provide blood.

In Britain around 1,250 people with bleeding disorders were infected with HIV, including about 380 children, the inquiry found. Three quarters of them died.

“This disaster was not an accident,” Langstaff said. “The infections happened because those in authority – doctors, the blood services and successive governments – did not put patient safety first.”

He said proper compensation must now be paid.

The government, which in 2015 said it was “something that never should have happened,” agreed in 2022 to pay an interim $125,000 to those affected.


Systemic failures

The infected blood and blood products, some of which were imported from the United States, were used for transfusions, which were not always clinically needed, and as treatments for bleeding disorders like hemophilia.

Hemophiliacs received Factor 8 concentrates, often imported from the United States or Austria, which carried a higher risk of causing hepatitis.


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Some of the concentrates were infected with HIV in the 1980s, the inquiry said, but authorities failed to switch to safer alternatives and they decided in July 1983, a year after risks were apparent, not to suspend their importation.

Systemic failures resulted in between 80 and 100 people becoming infected with HIV by transfusion, it said, and about 26,800 were infected with Hepatitis C, often from receiving blood after childbirth or an operation.


Failed by complacency

Both groups were failed by doctors’ complacency about Hepatitis C and being slow to respond to the risks of AIDS, it said, compounded by an absence of meaningful apology or redress.

He said patients were exposed to risks despite it being well known that blood could cause severe infection, in the case of hepatitis since the end of World War II.

Treatment practices that could have reduced the risks were not adopted, he said, noting blood was collected from prisoners, who had a higher prevalence of hepatitis, until 1984.

Some of the victims were further betrayed by being used in medical trials without their knowledge or consent, he said.

“It will be astonishing to anyone who reads this report that these events could have happened in the UK,” Langstaff said.

The British inquiry, which started in 2018, does not have the power to recommend prosecutions.

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Source(s): Reuters

Rare dolphin hybrid born at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium

The dolphin family of three – the bottlenose dolphin mother, the Risso’s dolphin father, and their calf – is pictured at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP

The dolphin family of three – the bottlenose dolphin mother, the Risso’s dolphin father, and their calf – is pictured at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP

The Risso’s dolphin, known for its scar-covered body, is seen swimming at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP 

The Risso’s dolphin, known for its scar-covered body, is seen swimming at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP 

A close-up of the bottlenose dolphin mother and her hybrid calf is pictured at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP 

A close-up of the bottlenose dolphin mother and her hybrid calf is pictured at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP 

The newborn dolphin hybrid swims beside its bottlenose dolphin mother at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP 

The newborn dolphin hybrid swims beside its bottlenose dolphin mother at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in Henan Province on May 19, 2024. /CFP 

A newborn dolphin hybrid was seen swimming closely beside its bottlenose dolphin mother at Zhengzhou Ocean Aquarium in central China’s Henan Province. In the blue waters, a Risso’s dolphin hovered nearby, keeping a watchful eye on its unique offspring.

Born on May 18, the calf is an exceptionally rare hybrid and the first to be successfully born and thrive in Henan Province. Measuring 128 centimeters at birth, the calf’s head, mouth, dorsal fin and tail resemble those of its Risso’s dolphin father, while the rest of its body more closely resembles its bottlenose dolphin mother. The union of the two dolphins can be likened to the union of different human races, making their offspring a true hybrid of the ocean.

10th World Water Forum opens in Indonesia’s Bali

The 10th World Water Forum under the theme of “Water for Shared Prosperity” officially opened on Indonesia’s island of Bali on Monday.

A number of national leaders and United Nations representatives attended the opening ceremony.

The logo of the 10th World Water Forum in Bali. /CMG

The logo of the 10th World Water Forum in Bali. /CMG

The 10th World Water Forum focuses on four topics, namely water conservation, clean water and sanitation, food and energy security, and mitigation of natural disasters.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in his opening remarks that in 2050, 500 million small farmers who contribute 80 percent of the world’s food are predicted to be among the most vulnerable to drought.

The opening ceremony of the 10th World Water Forum. /CFP

The opening ceremony of the 10th World Water Forum. /CFP

“By gathering us in Bali today, Indonesia hopes that the world can join hands on an ongoing basis to strengthen the commitment to collaboration in overcoming global challenges related to water,” he added.

World Water Council President Loic Fauchon, who also made remarks, said water unites people, but Earth has been damaged by people too.

“And we are here because, aware of this tragedy, we want to repair it and give future generations hope, desire and serenity,” he said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

China has sufficient tools to deal with EU’s incessant anti-subsidy probes: social media influencer

Workers complete assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at China's EV start-up Leapmotor in Jinhua, East China's Zhejiang Province on April 1, 2024. The smart EV factory delivered 14,567 new vehicles in March, a yearly increase of 136 percent. Photo: VCG

Workers complete assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at China’s EV start-up Leapmotor in Jinhua, East China’s Zhejiang Province on April 1, 2024. The smart EV factory delivered 14,567 new vehicles in March, a yearly increase of 136 percent. Photo: VCG

Facing incessant anti-subsidy probes against Chinese companies, China actually has sufficient countermeasures, and, if Europe stubbornly continues to take action, China may have to take a series of measures to hit back, Yuyuan Tantian, a social media influencer affiliated with state broadcaster CCTV said in a penned article on Saturday.

The remarks came after two Chinese companies were forced to withdraw from a public procurement bid in a Romanian photovoltaic park project due to the EU’s anti-subsidy investigations. The complexity of the evidence collection required, and the insufficient time provided by the EU led to their withdrawal.

This has been the third investigation under EU’s Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) since its launch last July, all targeting Chinese companies. It comes as certain politicians within the bloc raised so-called concerns regarding “overcapacity” in Chinese emerging industry including electric vehicles (EV).

The EU’s actions and hypes do not align with the interests of EU members, Yuyuan Tantian wrote. 

Some European countries, such as Germany, have expressed opposition to high tariffs on Chinese EVs, stating that EVs from China would drive the innovation of German automobile industry.

Moreover, the EU itself has been providing substantial subsidies in various sectors, including new-energy industries and the agricultural sector.

In response to EU politicians’ efforts to suppress Chinese companies, China has prepared sufficient countermeasures, Yuyuan Tantian wrote in the article.

Shen Qian, a lawyer familiar with trade and commerce issues, told Tanyuan Tantian said that the EU is highly dependent on the Chinese market for exports including wine and dairy, and the EU offered huge subsidy to its agriculture industry. 

Shen said that the EU’s subsidy as well as dumping practices has caused substantial harm to related industries in China, so it is necessary for China to demonstrate its determination to protect the interests of Chinese companies too.

Last September, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced an anti-subsidy ruling on imported potato starch from the EU and decided to keep in place the anti-subsidy tariffs. 

In addition to agricultural products, the EU also relies on the Chinese market in many other sectors such as aviation. Airbus recently released a report predicting that China is expected to surpass the US and Europe to become the world’s largest aviation market.

“Some EU politicians’ attempts to suppress China are undoubtedly shooting themselves in the foot,” Yuyuan Tantian wrote.

Grain buds period begins, the start of the summer harvest is here

This year’s Xiaoman (“Little Ripening”) or Grain Buds Day falls on Monday. It is the eighth solar term in the traditional Chinese calendar. Xiaoman begins when the sun reaches 60 degrees of ecliptic longitude, marking the time when summer gradually becomes the dominant season, and the grains are about to ripen.

Farmers work in a paddy field in Bijie, Southwest China's Guizhou Province, on May 13, 2024. Photo: VCG

Farmers work in a paddy field in Bijie, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, on May 13, 2024. Photo: VCG

According to the “Collective Interpretation of the Seventy-two Phenological Terms,” compiled by Yuan Dynasty scholar Wu Cheng, Xiaoman falls in the middle of the fourth lunar month. A famous saying, “A heavy rainfall makes the river full,” highlights the increased precipitation during this time, filling rivers and providing a bountiful supply of fish and shrimp. It is also a critical period for farmers as crops in northern China begin to mature, while in the south, the rains swell the rivers.

As the sun moves closer to the Tropic of Cancer, days lengthen, temperatures rise, and plants thrive, signaling the onset of early summer. New fruits like plums, apricots, and peaches appear, pomegranate trees bloom, and dragonflies hover over lotus flowers in lakes.

Ancient Chinese divided Xiaoman into three pentads: the first marks the perfect time for vegetables, the second sees weeds withering, and the third signals the imminent wheat harvest. The diet during Xiaoman often includes bitter herbs, such as bitter cabbage, which flourish and are prime for harvesting.

During Xiaoman, the increasing sunlight causes shade-loving weeds to wither, and wheat grains to fill out, though they are not yet ripe. In northern China, crops like winter wheat approach maturity. The name Xiaoman advises farmers to wait a little longer before harvesting to ensure the crops are fully ripe. However, they must not delay too long, as harvesting after the Grain in Ear period (Mangzhong) could lead to overripe wheat shedding its ears. Farmers need to observe their fields closely and harvest during sunny days.

In southern China, Xiaoman involves bustling activities with three types of wheels: water wheels for irrigating rice fields, oil extraction wheels for rapeseed oil, and silk reeling wheels for silk production. The water wheels operate continuously, the oil extraction wheels are in full swing, and silk reeling begins in earnest.

Xiaoman is also a time to celebrate the birthday of the silkworm god. Families pray for a successful silkworm harvest by shaping dough into silkworm cocoons, placing them on straw, and making wishes for good yields. 

In central China, Xiaoman is marked by lively markets and fairs, akin to carnivals. Children enjoy the festivities, indulging in pancakes, fried dough sticks, buns, and spicy soup, creating lasting memories. Adults, preparing for the imminent harvest, take the opportunity to socialize and purchase seeds, tools, livestock, and summer supplies. Local opera performances in larger villages boost morale before the harvest.

Despite modern machinery replacing traditional tools, these gatherings remain a cherished custom, helping communities prepare for the upcoming harvest. Xiaoman symbolizes hope for a fruitful grain harvest.

During Xiaoman, most places in China experience average daily temperatures above 22 C. In this temperature it is important to avoid excessive consumption of raw and cold foods, especially for children and the elderly, who are more vulnerable to the heat.

GT investigates: The ‘Chinese killed Jesus Christ’ post is a farce, but why it was allowed to spread on X is worth a closer look

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Editor’s Note:
“Cognitive Warfare” has become a new form of confrontation between states, and a new security threat. With new technological means, it sets agendas and spreads disinformation, to change people’s perceptions and thus alter their self-identity. Launching cognitive warfare against China is an important means for Western anti-China forces to attack and discredit the country. 

Some politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China’s image by propagating false narratives in an attempt to incite and provoke dissatisfaction with China among people in certain countries. These means all serve the US strategy to contain China’s rise and maintain its hegemony. The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to reveal the intrigues of the US-led West’s China-targeted cognitive warfare, and expose its lies and vicious intentions. 

In the 14th installment in the series, the Global Times looks into how the US government and major social media platforms connive to spread anti-China slander online, as a non-obvious cognitive warfare trick that incites hostile sentiment toward China among ordinary US people.

People walk on a street in New York City, the US. Photo: VCG

People walk on a street in New York City, the US. Photo: VCG

Seeing unfriendly content toward China on today’s US social media platforms is not uncommon, although some of them have reached the level of laughable absurdity. Dom Lucre, a US political commentator, recently wrote a controversial post on X (formally known as Twitter), in which he inexplicably claimed that the “Chinese killed Jesus Christ.” This inexplicable post soon went viral online. Many X users seemed to have followed suit by fabricating rumors about “the Chinese,” creating a wave of disinformation attacking Chinese people in recent days.

How did this campaign come about? Was it just the innocent dark humor of some individuals online, or a branch of the US’ growing cognitive warfare against China to further deepen misunderstanding and hostility among Americans toward Chinese people? What roles do the US government and social media platforms play in such seemingly unofficially-initiated disinformation campaigns?

Dark humor?
“The Chinese killed Jesus Christ. This isn’t a conspiracy. This isn’t racist. This is history.” The ridiculous post by Lucre on March 16 has since garnered over 3.5 million views and 1,500 forwards, much more than his other daily posts.

This was not the only ridiculous Chinese-themed post by Lucre that month. Earlier on March 9, he posted that “The Chinese control Hollywood. That’s why every show they own can make fun of Jesus Christ and describe it as comedy…The Chinese [have] weaponized the American media against Christians.” 

“China really controls the world,” “China (is) allowed to legally mingle [sic] in American elections,” “FBI caught five Chinese men dancing during 9/11″… Within a week, Lucre had posted several bizarre accusations against China and Chinese people, triggering widespread discussions on X.

So what was the motive behind it?

Some users commented that they guessed the posts were a form of “dark humor” satire by Lucre to “mock” the bans of US social media platforms like X on negative content about Jews as it appears Lucre had simply replaced the word “Jews” with “Chinese” in his post. Sharing personal experiences of Jew-related posts being deleted, they suggested that the platforms usually block or restrict posts attacking certain groups of people like Jews or Muslims, but seemingly allow similar content when directed at Chinese people, if not encourage them.

Superficially, Lucre’s posts were a performance-art-like satire to highlight how different groups are treated on US social media platforms, and Chinese people unfortunately became a tool and the victims of such “satire.”

However, as an increasing number of X users followed suit to fabricate and spread rumors defaming Chinese people, some anti-China forces thus seized on the opportunity to further muddy the waters with fake evidence to “support” the ridiculous claims. This “dark humor” farce has resulted in the inundation of disinformation that demonizes Chinese people.

There were more than 2,000 X posts containing the keywords “Chinese killed Jesus” within a week after Lucre’s original post on March 16, showed online media monitoring company Meltwater. Instead of attaching so-called “background information” to Lucre’s related posts, X seemed to have not blocked or clarified any of the forwarded posts, allowing them to keep going viral and mislead the public.

Obviously, the disinformation was spread under X’s inaction and connivance, said Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University. “X can hardly escape the blame,” he told the Global Times.

Long-term connivance

US social media platforms have long connived with and acquiesced to anti-China misinformation, “a very vicious act” that is backed or promoted by some politicians and government agencies in the US, Li said.

By indulging the false accusations against China online and deliberately elevating a few statements – no matter how absurd they are – to ignite a sort of public hostility toward China and its people, these platforms and politicians attempt to foment unfriendly consensus against Chinese people at the social level, so as to set off an anti-China sentiment among the general US public, noted Li.

The “Chinese virus” smear during the COVID-19 pandemic was a typical cognitive campaign that started on social media and was fueled by the US government and politicians. Meltwater data showed that the terms “Chinese virus” first appeared on social media platforms and in some news coverage around early January 2020, and surged in late March, soon after former US president Donald Trump used similar labels in his X posts

The US government was obviously happy to see these insulting words flooding social media, and actively joined the COVID-19 cognitive campaign that smeared China and obfuscated the facts. 

The so-called “Great Translation Movement” in early 2022, a malicious smear campaign against China on Russia-Ukraine issues on X, was also a vivid instance in which US social media platforms connived to spread rumors and hateful, discriminatory remarks against Chinese people. By translating cherry-picked, niche, and radical content from the Chinese internet into multiple languages, and spreading said translations on overseas social media platforms, participants of the “movement” attempted to portray Chinese people as an arrogant, populist, and cruel group, which maliciously misled the public. 

Disappointingly, during this “movement,” X kept turning a blind eye to the rumors and attacks against Chinese people.

Some politicians are currently trying to take it a step further. On April 11, some members of the US House and Senate introduced the Open Translation Center Act, a bill to establish a federally funded research center that translates documents from countries like China and Russia, so as to “better understand threats” from these countries, they claimed.

One of the main initiators, Mike Gallagher, is infamous for his extreme anti-China attitude. 

Li analyzed that this bill is not to promote mutual understanding between China and the US, but to aggravate the US people’s unfriendly attitude toward China. “The ‘Open Translation Center’ and the ‘Great Translation Movement’ are issues in two different fields, but they are similar in nature,” he told the Global Times.

Sadly, negative content forms the majority of Chinese-related posts found on US social media platforms, with the continued connivance of the platforms and the US government. Meltwater showed that so far this year, among the posts containing “Chinese” on some major platforms including X and Facebook that were released in the US, negative, neutral, and positive sentiment stood at 26.8, 59.3, and 13.8 percent respectively.

A main battlefield

The US’ cognitive warfare against China is evolving from simply distorting information about China to falsifying knowledge about China – in other words, turning misinformation to “common sense” that attempts to change people’s basic knowledge and understanding of China, said Dong Guanpeng, dean of the National Institute of Public Relations and Strategic Communication, Communication University of China.

Falsifying knowledge about China is much nastier than fabricating misinformation, Dong noted. “It may mislead global audiences, particularly the young ones, during their formation of perceptions and judgments about China,” he told the Global Times.

Lucre’s “dark humor” posts have, to some extent, misled a few X users, who forwarded their complaints about the “misdeeds” of Chinese people that Lucre mentioned. Some Chinese observers worry that, for the less knowledgeable young netizens who are unaware of such “ironic narration,” these ridiculous posts may eventually become a part of their initial cognition of China and its people.

Worse still, apart from indulging in the spread of rumors, US politicians and social media platforms have also created fake accounts to proactively make up and spread content discrediting China, and even banned pro-China posts and blocked pro-China accounts.

Earlier in 2019, during the riots in Hong Kong, many users criticized Facebook and X for suppressing their posts that support the central Chinese government.  According to CNN’s report, X blocked more than 900 accounts in that same period, and was followed by Facebook. These accounts were closed for posting content “undermining” the rioters in Hong Kong. 

It is no wonder that social media has become a main battlefield for the US’ cognitive warfare against China, said Li.

And the cognitive warfare has shaped or influenced US people’s view of China to a certain extent. A Gallup poll released in March showed that 41 percent of Americans name China as the US’ greatest enemy today, making it the top perceived US adversary for the fourth straight year. 

Yet the “greatest enemy” was created by the US itself with its meaningless hostility and panic.

 “The US has since (Huawei) spiraled into a full-blown outbreak of Sinophobia – a strong word that I don’t use lightly,” Stephen S. Roach, a faculty member at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, wrote in his article “American Sinophobia” published in March.

 “…Excessive fear of China conveniently masks many of America’s own self-inflicted problems,” Roach wrote. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he quoted a line from US president Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address, concluding that “amid today’s Sinophobic frenzy, that message is well worth remembering.”

Photo: Global Times

Photo: Global Times