The deployment in South Korea of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile defence system has been slammed by Beijing. Now the Chinese Communist Party is calling on its people to embrace their ill will towards their neighbours.
It’s incredible the speed with which China’s leaders can just switch on anti-South Korea sentiment here.
The Communist Party has complete control of the Chinese media. So the instructions go out and a way of thinking is simply poured into the community from above.
The giant Costa Serena cruise ship docked at South Korea’s spectacular island of Jeju at the weekend. Eighty charter buses stood by with their guides. They were ready to take Chinese tourists around the sights of this old fishing community with its ancient volcanoes and pristine beaches.
With its visa-free travel for Chinese citizens, Jeju has been a popular destination for tourists from the Middle Kingdom.
Not this time. After the cruise ship docked, some 3,400 Chinese passengers reportedly refused to disembark. It was said to be a protest at the deployment of Thaad in South Korea.
In China’s state-controlled media coverage, it is not as if you get a range of views.
Here is a view you will not hear expressed on, say, a Chinese Central Television panel show: “Look everyone, I know we’re all a bit angry about this but we should try and see it from a South Korean perspective. They’re worried about those North Korean missiles which we are regularly seeing being tested raining down on Seoul from just across the border.”
No, you will not hear that view. Basically the only perspective that gets an airing is that the Thaad battery allows the Americans to see deep into China, that this is a threat to our homeland and that the South Korean company Lotte Group provided the land for it on a golf course.
Not surprisingly, Lotte supermarkets in China have found themselves in breach of fire regulations and the like, and are being forced to shut their doors.
This may, however, turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the company because patriotic citizens have already started taking matters into their own hands. One woman went into a Lotte outlet and filmed herself for social media opening packets of instant noodles and drinks before putting them back.
Outside Lotte supermarkets, small-ish protests are being being allowed to go ahead and the momentum is building.
Two men in Shandong filmed themselves on the footpath outside an electrical appliance store with the Chinese national anthem blaring out. Next to them was a large cardboard box.
After revealing its contents, with the stirring “qi lai, qi lai” (rise up, rise up) echoing around the buildings, they then proceeded to use a sledge hammer to smash an LG-brand washing machine to pieces.
Next victim (from the same South Korean brand): a large flat-screen TV. The red banner next to them read: “We would rather destroy these than sell them.”
The small crowd of passers by watching the ceremony made sure that it spread across social media.
Elsewhere, a large group of students were filmed at the Shijixing Primary School.
The camera panned across them in their hundreds as they chanted slogans in scenes reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution: “Boycott South Korea! Drive Lotte out of China! This all starts from us! Resist Thaad! Love your country!”
Then there’s the song. Somebody has re-recorded the well-known pop song The Dedication of Love with new lyrics. It, too, is travelling around social media like wildfire.
“It’s a call from the heart. // It’s a show of love.
Danger is approaching us. // So all Chinese people should wake up.
In South Korea the US deploys Thaad. // Which can monitor more than half of China.
Lotte makes a lot of money in China. // Yet still offers a place to the US.
Chinese people should stand up. // Only if our country is safe can we exist.”
Source: BBC China Blog