Patriotism

People wearing face masks walk out of a subway station during morning rush hour in Beijing, China, 26 April 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Patriotism has become a commodity on Chinese social media

Chinese internet celebrities have landed in hot water since social media platforms began displaying the IP addresses of posts by verified accounts. Netizens are crying foul as the locations of these individuals have potentially exposed the deception and falsehoods in their content and “patriotic” personae. Is this the end for the “patriotic Big Vs”?
Chinese brand Three Squirrels came under fire for featuring "slit eyes" in a series of advertisements. (Internet)

Are ‘slit eyes’ an insult to China?

Recent advertisements in China featuring slit-eyed models have been criticised by netizens for “insulting” or “uglifying” the Chinese. But are Chinese people “unworthy” to be Chinese because they fit into so-called Western stereotypes of what Chinese people look like? Are detractors not buying into the very ideas that they want to reject, that Chinese people who look a certain way are “ugly”? Zaobao's China Desk examines the issue.
People look at publicity posters of The Battle at Lake Changjin at a cinema in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, on 7 October 2021. (CNS)

Can the Chinese criticise their patriotic movies?

The movie The Battle at Lake Changjin has broken all sorts of box office records in China. This patriotic drama portrays Chinese volunteer troops fighting in the Korean War against the US, and is highly rated by the authorities and the public. However, certain comments have been criticised for being disrespectful to the people and times in the movie, and the police have detained Chinese financial media personality Luo Changping for his allegedly disparaging comments against the country's volunteer fighters. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
People walk past a China Energy coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, 29 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

The conspiracy theories behind China's power cuts

Last year, Western media attributed the cause of China's power shortages to the latter's unofficial ban on Australian coal. This year, Chinese netizens and we-media are claiming that power cuts are necessary and a result of “an invisible exchange of swordplay in big country economic competition”. Leveraging nationalism and big power competition to garner attention and support is indeed the order of the day. Zaobao journalist Liu Liu explains why Chinese authorities and state media are debunking these conspiracy theories and refusing to ride on the patriotism wave.
Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani of Japan celebrate winning their match against Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen of China, Tokyo Olympics, 26 July 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Japan-bashing by Chinese netizens: A lack of sportsmanship during the Olympics?

A week into the Tokyo Olympics and the Chinese internet is already a minefield of anti-Japan sentiments. Displeasure ranges from Japan’s win over China in the table-tennis mixed doubles to perceived slights against China. By playing the nationalism card, Chinese netizens are not doing China any favours in the run-up to next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
A woman walks past a decorated board with images of Tiananmen Gate and the Chinese national flag, marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, at a hi-tech industrial park in Beijing, China, 23 June 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Chinese butting heads with Western media: Irrational nationalism or deeds of justice?

Yang Danxu observes that the Chinese are becoming more confident about refuting Western media reports they deem erroneous or biased. This stems from recent events such as growing US-China antagonism, China’s rise and even some goading on by the authorities. But if unleashed in a vacuum, nationalist sentiment can be a dangerous sword that ends up hurting the one who wields it.
A Chinese paramilitary police stands guard while a light show is seen from the Bund in Shanghai on 30 June 2021, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

When doing business in China, beware of patriotic netizens

Han Yong Hong takes stock of the bruised feelings and sensitivities that have been stirred up in a sideshow to the CCP’s recent 100th anniversary. Whether it is a “lone wolf” attack in Hong Kong, Didi’s fate or Sony’s misstep, nationalist netizens are quick to “correct” wrongdoings that hurt China or its feelings. All this just makes one feel a greater need to walk on eggshells. Looks like doing business in China just got trickier for foreign and domestic companies alike.
Commuters take photos with a flag of the Communist Party of China at Nantong Railway Station, Jiangsu province, China on 1 July 2021, during celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. (STR/AFP)

More Chinese youths proud to be associated with the CCP

Positive attitudes towards the Chinese Communist Party among the young have been on the rise. China’s relative success in combating Covid-19 has further impressed Chinese youths. More of them are becoming party members and are proud to be called “red and expert”.
People walk along Qianmen Street, a popular pedestrianised traditional street with shops and restaurants in Beijing on 2 May 2021. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP)

Nationalistic and patriotic? Chinese youths are more than that.

Every day, scores of young people from small cities or farming villages make their way to big cities to find work. Inhabiting the space between their old and new worlds, they find kinship and cultural affinity in online groups, forming subcultures that have emerged as alternatives to the mainstream. While this widens their network beyond their usual social circles, it has also spawned a form of online tribalism. How does this affect their worldviews and interactions online and offline? Wu Guo explores the topic.