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‘Cyberspace comments offensive to Ukraine women’: Read on…

Chinese government censors are frantically trying to stop vulgar and abusive comments about Ukrainian refugees through their social media. Social media users are going beyond making jokes and asking soldiers to ‘have fun’ with them. A sharp reaction has resulted from the adverse postings in Ukraine, where some Chinese students are fearing for their safety. While traveling in Ukraine, the Chinese embassy initially asked its citizens to clearly identify their nationality.

The order was later amended to say that they should not identify their nationality and stay indoors. China has seen an outpouring of support for Russians on social media, which contrasts with neighboring countries like Singapore and Japan where Ukrainians are receiving overwhelming support.

Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, and Douyin have suspended the accounts of people posting vulgar or provocative comments as part of the government’s efforts to stop abusive comments. When discussing events in other countries, the platforms have urged users to remain ‘objective and rational’ as well as to maintain a ‘clean and upright atmosphere’. Chinese citizens are using social media to ask the government to take control of Taiwan by using the Ukraine affair as leverage.

Chinese authorities are closely monitored by foreign observers to see if they influence social media conversation. Other than using filters and censoring tools, many observers believe that the communist nation allows its volunteers to make large-scale postings to control sentiment. Professor Francesco Sisci, of Beijing’s Renmin University, believes the government is not trying to influence the debate in any way. ‘China overall is following events but not taking a clear stand, and why should it? For China, this war is a lose-lose proposition,’ he said.


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