BEIJING – Chinese social media erupted in a mixture of glee and schadenfreude Thursday (Jan 7) as a mob stormed the United States Capitol, comparing the chaos to anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019.
Hardcore supporters of US President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke into the building in Washington to protest against his election defeat. They ransacked parts of it while scuffling with security personnel. Many in the mob took selfies which were widely shared on social media.
The mayhem resembled that in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019, when protesters laid siege to the Legislative Council complex, vandalising and ransacking the main chamber.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also drew parallels with Hong Kong, which has remained a sore point in relations with the US, accusing the US of double standards.
“Some people in the United States have very different reactions and words about what happened in Hong Kong in 2019 and what is happening in the United States today,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Thursday.
“This sharp contrast and the reasons behind it are thought-provoking and worthy of everyone’s consideration.”
In a pinned tweet on its page, state-backed tabloid Global Times shared a series of images contrasting the storming of the Capitol to what occurred in Hong Kong in July last year.
“@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as ‘a beautiful sight to behold’ – it remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill,” the newspaper tweeted, tagging the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
The Communist Youth League also described the riots as a “beautiful sight” on its Weibo account.
On the Twitter-like Weibo, the hashtag “Trump supporters storm Capitol” racked up 580 million views, with many labelling the mayhem in Washington “payback” for what they said was US interference in Hong Kong.
“The most beautiful scenery in the world,” read one comment with 4,600 views.
“Pelosi can enjoy the beautiful sight – even at her office desk!” another netizen wrote.
“For such a long time, US politicians called rioters ‘freedom fighters’ in other countries. Now, they finally have retribution!”
Comments on social media also referenced Mrs Pelosi’s comments at a US congressional human rights commission hearing when she referred to a picture of the annual vigil in the semi-autonomous city marking the Tiananmen Square incident – the only place in China where such gatherings are allowed. Her comments have frequently been taken out of context in China, and it was no different yesterday.
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