Pelosi unleashes frenzy on Chinese social media
By Lorena Canto
Beijing, Aug 3 (EFE).- The controversial visit to Taiwan by United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi revolutionized Chinese social media, where millions of users reacted with indignation, patriotism, humor and memes.
The uproar caused by the trip was such that Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, collapsed several times when Pelosi’s plane was seen traveling to Taipei Tuesday night, which angered China.
Weibo’s collapse was followed by that of aviation tracking site Flightradar24, in which tens of thousands of people followed the route of the plane carrying Pelosi, who was about to provoke one of the biggest bilateral crises in recent years.
A delusional fictional story began to circulate on Weibo suggesting Pelosi and Hu Xijin, a veteran and influential state journalist known for his staunch nationalism and inflammatory comments, had a relationship in their youth.
The fantasy of “impossible love” elaborated by Internet users included photographic montages of the two in their younger years and several aged-looking images of Pelosi with a candid countenance. Some said she had a certain resemblance to actress Audrey Hepburn at that time, together with Hu dressed in the military uniform of his country.
If some commentators said they made “a beautiful couple,” others joked that the marriage would have been “a bad deal for Hu,” who is 20 years Pelosi’s junior.
Others were not so amused, such as the blogger known as “Chairman Rabbit,” who said China was facing a serious situation and considered jokes of this type inappropriate.
But Hu Xijin himself did seem to get a smile, as he commented on the post with thumbs-up hand icons.
There were also users who joked that the risk zone was not the Taiwan Strait but “the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange,” which fell 2.26 and 2.37 percent, respectively Tuesday.
Other Internet users, however, took the diplomatic crisis so seriously they even accused a well-known singer of supporting Pelosi’s trip because she posted a photo on her social networks eating spaghetti, which they considered to imply supporting US politics for her surname of Italian origin.
Pop star Hebe Shien unintentionally suffered the wrath of some people who labeled the content of him as promoting Taiwan independence and ended up deleting the photo from streaming site Discord. EFE