Commentaries: Afghan assets; Ukraine-Russia tensions on Weibo; Eileen Gu; Woman’s rights
Happy Lantern Festival! Tuesday marks the traditional Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the first month on the Chinese lunar calendar and an important occasion for family reunions.
As you may know, writing commentary is part of my full-time job. I've always wanted to add a regular overview of commentaries, editorials, or opinions from key Chinese media, social media platforms or individuals in the newsletter.
So today's newsletter is a review of such. The highlights are by Ginger River.
1. Xinhua Commentary: U.S. daylight robbery of Afghan assets tantamount to silent massacre
This commentary came after President Joe Biden signed an order to free up $3.5 billion in Afghan assets held in the U.S. for families of America’s 9/11 victims. Xinhua, the official state press agency of China, said "Washington seems utterly oblivious to the suffering of the Afghan people, taking on a moral high ground and once again plundering the starving Afghan people of live-saving cash without a tinge of guilt."
The article also cited a report from New York Times, saying that about 12 percent of U.S. reconstruction aid to Afghanistan between 2002 and 2021 had gone to the Afghan government, with most of the rest going into the pockets of U.S. companies.
"It is the latest episode in yet another season of the U.S. wrecking havoc on Afghanistan, a tragedy that is truly a silent massacre," said the article.
UK PM's account shouted out to President Putin in Chinese on Twitter-like social platform Weibo Tuesday, saying "We are on the edge of a cliff, but President Putin still has time to step back and think over it. We urge everyone to engage in dialogue - the Russian government should avoid making decisions that would be disastrously wrong for their country. "
The account of Russian embassy in China responded to UK PM on Weibo, tweeting: "Another example of the West's information warfare against Russia is the Downing Street's statement, which is designed to further inflame the hysteria it manipulates around the so-called 'A Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent' and is absurd. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called such Western propaganda actions 'information terrorism'."
The embassy continued to tweet: "The Russian Federation is not conducting any major military activity and its troops are stationed on its territory and pose no threat to anyone. If the West is truly committed to reducing military danger, then they should be concerned about the actions of Ukraine and its patrons, for it is them who are causing this danger."
"The continued military development by NATO countries on the territory of Ukraine through the supply of large quantities of weapons to that country is an example of the escalation of the situation,” said the embassy.
Some netizens tried to connect with the account of U.S. Embassy in China for responses in the threads of the comments on Weibo. At press time, Ginger River found no response from that account and doubted if Weibo would become a new battleground for such type of info war.
As Eileen Gu’s performance at the Winter Olympics has brought her much attention at home and abroad. Hu Xijin, the outspoken former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, warned on Sunday that "Publicity about Gu’s performance at the Winter Olympics should be limited to sports. Phrases like ‘winning glory for the country’ should be replaced with ‘winning glory for Team China’."
Hu explained that Gu has just turned 18, and the odds are that her life will be based mostly in the U.S. for at least the next few years. There is uncertainty about how she will determine her nationality affiliation in the future and how she will present her national identity in her persona.
The former editor did not begrudge Gu's success. He said that he was happy for Gu to win the gold medal on behalf of the Chinese team and predicted that Gu could become more commercially successful than any other athlete in the Chinese market if she could win another gold medal and act properly.
I myself have watched most of Gu's games in the on-going Olympics and some of her documentaries. Based on the many different commercials I saw, I can feel she is really popular now in China. Gu's third and final event -- the women's halfpipe -- is set to begin with qualifications Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 8:30 p.m. EST.
As the shackled woman case caused public outcry over the woman's inhuman treatment, Caixin released an editorial, saying that the tragedy of the woman speaks volumes for making the protection of woman’s rights a priority.
The editorial recognized China's efforts in improving the social status of women since the country's reform and opening-up which began in the late 1970s, but warned that "both visible and invisible discrimination continues to stand between many women and better access to opportunity."
"How far it goes in protecting women’s rights shows how far it has advanced as a society." says the article.