A social media post from an account linked with the Chinese Communist Party has purportedly ridiculed India’s coronavirus crisis. The post on Chinese site Weibo juxtaposed two photographs – one showing a rocket launch in China and another showing Covid-19 victims being cremated in India.
The Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC’s central committee had put up the post on its Weibo account on Saturday afternoon, reported BBC. The caption of the collage read something along the lines of: “When China sets things on fire vs. when India does it”. The post has now been deleted after it was widely criticised.
The Commission for Political and Legal Affairs is a powerful wing of the CPC. It is tasked with overseeing police officers, prosecutors and courts. It is currently headed by Guo Shengkun, a member of the political bureau of the CPC’s central committee.
The post was roundly criticised for being insensitive and inappropriate. “Hold high the banner of humanitarianism at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on a moral high ground,” wrote Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the post could not be found on Weibo. “Regarding the relevant picture mentioned in your question, we currently cannot find it on the relevant Weibo account,” it told the Hindustan Times.
The ministry added that the Chinese government was supporting India in fighting the pandemic. “What we want to emphasise is that China has been paying close attention to the development of the epidemic situation in India,” it said. “China is doing its utmost to support India in fighting the new round of the epidemic. In the next few days, more anti-epidemic resources will continue to be sent to India to support India’s anti-epidemic efforts. Many donations and purchases in this area are carried out through unofficial channels.”
The Weibo post was made a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering condolences on the massive second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India. Xi also expressed his willingness to strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation with India and offered to provide support and help.
“The human race belongs to a community with a shared future,” Xi said. “Only through solidarity and cooperation can all countries across the world defeat the pandemic finally.”
China’s advances came at a time when diplomatic relations between the two countries have been at their lowest point in the backdrop of the months-long military standoff along the Line of Actual Control.
A thaw in tensions was achieved in February when thousands of Indian and Chinese frontline troops disengaged from the southern and northern banks of Pangong Lake in the Ladakh. However, they remain in a standoff in Gogra and Hot Springs, and one other place, Depsang.