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Chinese Media’s Critique of US Student Protests Supporting Gaza

Protests by American university students in solidarity with Gaza have intensified, resulting in clashes and over a hundred arrests, sparking global interest. Chinese state media have seized on the incident, repeatedly expressing “concern” and leveraging the protests to criticize alleged American double standards and suppression of free speech.

Students nationwide have rallied against the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has lead to mounting casualties. With the current academic term drawing to a close, nearly a thousand arrests have been made on campuses across the United States. Protests have also surfaced in other countries, including France and Canada.

The demonstrations in the U.S. have become a focal point internationally, with Chinese state media consistently commenting on the unfolding events. Chinese media have critiqued what they say is an inconsistency between American democratic values and the curbing of students’ freedom of expression within the U.S.

An article from the People’s Liberation Army Daily’s Weibo account, “Jun Zhengping Studio,” accuses authorities in the U.S. of meting out violent repression in response to students’ legitimate demands. The article questions the disparity between the rights that students are taught they have and the treatment of the students when they attempt to exercise those rights.

China Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published an English commentary backing the student protesters. The article condemns what it sees as the Biden administration’s indifferent response to the protests and to law enforcement’s crackdown on demonstrators.

A video released on the People’s Daily’s WeChat account, “Island of Heroes,” suggests that the protests stem from dissatisfaction with America’s perceived double standards and pro-Israel bias.

In addition to stances published by China’s state-run media, many Chinese netizens have shown “spontaneous concern” about the events. Netizens have left comments on the official Weibo account of the US Embassy in China, expressing anti-American sentiments as well as support for students’ freedom of speech.

China’s criticism of alleged American violations of free speech and human rights has also garnered pushback. Zhang Xiaogang, a board member of the Democratic China Front in Australia, suggests that China may be manipulating nationalist and anti-American sentiments to divert attention from its domestic governance challenges.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), April 30, 2024