- Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan has elicited an outpouring of anti-US vitriol on Weibo.
- The site’s top trending topic on Monday morning was a hashtag on Pelosi’s visit.
- Posts on the topic included threats to Pelosi and allusions to how China would beat the US in a war.
Weibo, China’s biggest social media network, on Tuesday saw an outpouring of anti-US vitriol ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan.
Users sent a trending topic regarding Pelosi skyrocketing to the top of the platform’s search charts on Tuesday morning.
The topic hashtag, labeled “Blinken says Pelosi could visit Taiwan,” hit the top of Weibo’s hot search chart at around 10 a.m. local time, garnering over 600 million views within six hours.
Found under that hashtag and others related to Pelosi were tens of thousands of comments attacking the lawmaker or alluding to the possibility of a devastating war between the US and China.
“America and the West have looted, plundered, and colonized, and there is no concept of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faith in their culture,” read one viral Weibo comment on the topic that got over 17,000 likes.
Other comments alluded to the start of a hot war over Taiwan, with one Weibo user even speculating about China’s occupation of Washington, DC, following a war between America and China.
“This is obviously a provocation by the US,” read another comment that was liked close to 5,000 times.
The commenter went on to state that the “eastern theater is ready for battle,” adding that Chinese fighter jets would “fly directly in Taiwan” if the visit took place.
“Let us witness the history of the reunification of the motherland together!” the post read.
Some sub-hashtags on Pelosi’s visit also appeared to reference how the Chinese could invade Taiwan from Fujian province, which sits across the Taiwan Strait from the island.
One post, in particular, included a video showing how Chinese troops could cross the Taiwan Strait from Fujian and make multiple landings in major Taiwanese cities. The post was made around an hour before messages began spreading on the platform about domestic flights in Fujian being canceled — a possible sign that the airspace was being cleared for military use.
Amid the anti-US comments, some Weibo users also posted threats and insults directed at Pelosi.
One post included a picture of her and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated last month. “We wish Pelosi a successful meeting soon with former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” read the post.
Anti-US sentiments are common on Weibo. For example, in 2020, the South China Morning Post reported on how Chinese internet users dogpiled the US embassy’s Weibo page with hateful comments over the US’ killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Earlier this year, Chinese social media users on the platform also seized on a baseless conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 coronavirus was produced by US-linked labs in Ukraine and accused the US of being responsible for the pandemic.
Meanwhile, tensions between the US and China have ratcheted up over a possible trip to Taiwan by Pelosi.
China has repeatedly warned of a possible military response to Pelosi’s trip. The White House has also cautioned that the visit could spark anything from military exercises to missiles being fired in the Taiwan Strait.
The Pentagon said last week that it is prepared to protect Pelosi with fighter jets and ships. A US aircraft carrier and its strike group have also moved into the South China Sea near Taiwan.
Experts on China fear Pelosi’s trip could create a US military crisis with Beijing.
The US has generally regarded Taiwan with “strategic ambiguity” — not recognizing its independence while still providing it with weapons.