People in China normally do not have freedom of speech, even though China’s constitution says they do. They can’t criticize Xi Jinping, for instance. In certain areas, however, they do have a degree of free speech, such as when they comment on U.S. relations with China.
During these weeks of Israel and Hamas war, Chinese netizens seem to be enjoying a fuller freedom expressing their views, especially on Weibo, China’s largest social media platform. Just as in free countries like the U.S., many of China’s micro-bloggers are well-informed as well as divided in their positions over this terrible war.
Here is a translation from Chinese of a sample of posts by ordinary Chinese on Oct. 24, found under a keyword search of Hamas and Israel. (Their online usernames were translated when abstract and abbreviated when personal.)
Quiet and silent goer: If Hamas had only attacked Israeli military, they wouldn’t have caused such a huge problem. They had slaughtered many civilians, including those of other countries, and are still holding civilians from various countries as hostages. They deserve to be treated as terrorists.
Me a fan of novel reading: Calling only on Israel to cease fire? Why not calling for those of Hamas mixed among Gaza civilians to surrender? Would that not also bring peace to Gaza people? If you do not want Israel to attack, how would the 1,400 brutally killed by Hamas be accounted for? Have you said anything about several Chinese nationals killed by Hamas? Why did you think Israel was a soft peach? Not to say that Hamas is firing rockets into Israel every day, just not effectively. Is that not attack?
Playwright LK: I condemned Hamas and was almost cursed to death by a mob on the net. They questioned why I didn’t condemn Israel. Damn it. I condemn all bastards who do not treat people as human beings. I am here to state my position clearly: Those who see Hamas as heroes are no longer my friends. Stay away from me as far as possible. Let me also send you off with the most beautiful national curse in the universe: ……
Star talker: Nowadays in western media, many people were reportedly getting suspended or getting threats just because they claimed to support Palestine, not even Hamas, and criticized Israel. For instance, six reporters of BBC have been suspended and investigated for posting tweets about supporting Palestine. … Western media has become so twisted that one can’t even remain silent or not take a stand. Cook of Apple, for instance, has chosen to remain silent since the breakout of conflict between Palestine and Israel. For this, he got attacked by the New York Times. U.S. (former) diplomat Huntsman criticized UPenn president for being silent over Hamas’ attack on Israel and stated that “Silence is antisemitism,” and promised to end his family donation to UPenn.
Continuing low entropy: With this Mideast war, China should pay attention to the possibility of chemical weapons used between Israel and Palestine. Currently, both Hamas and Israel are ruthless. Their respective supporters also have a high level of tolerance for the ruthlessness on their side. Under this situation, it is very possible that chemical weapons would be used. I suggest that China issues a warning that it will oppose resolutely the use of chemical weapons by Israel and Palestine in this conflict, and request clearly that Israel and Palestine publicly commit not to use chemical weapons.
Very much LSY: Bomb away however you like. Sooner or later, you must bomb back. The whole mankind is Hamas. Destroy Israel. Go Hamas! Everyone is Hamas!
Imperial patrol: Israel invited several hundred journalists to watch surveillance videos of Hamas attacks. The journalists burst into tears. Someone suggested that Hamas should release surveillance videos of Israeli attacks of Gaza. But would any journalist dare to go to Gaza?
FA LX bravely marching forward: Seymour Hersh, the American investigative journalist who won a Pulitzer for his report of the My Lai massacre, wrote on his blog that Israeli military was planning to flood Hamas’s underground tunnel network before its ground invasion. That way, the hostages detained in those tunnels by Hamas would be wiped out together.
YY Cuckoo: China has sent warships to prevent the situation from escalation. Israel-Palestine war is taking on a different look. As many as six Chinese warships have appeared in the Middle East.
Iron horse in my dream: According to the Times of Israel, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi said on 24th that Hamas had come to “regret” being in this state of war with Israel. He also admitted that Israeli forces had delayed the ground invasion out of “strategic consideration.” Ha-ha. It won’t be a shame to just say you are cowardly, or just admit openly that you would take losses and your combat power would be weakened if going in. Why use Hama as a pretext? Laughable.
Lone guest of wide ocean: Gaza urgently needs humanitarian assistance. Israel’s blockade has made it impossible for the goods to enter smoothly. Gaza’s water and electricity were cut off. It is also short of medical resources. Even if they are not going to be killed by bombs, Gaza’s civilians would starve to death or die of illness without medical care. Gaza civilians are not Hamas. Their lives should get basic protection. Gaza’s children killed by Israeli bombs have numbered over 2,000. Is Israel committing genocide?
Chief editor LT: This picture is very interesting, a poster Hamas released to Israel: if you engage in a ground invasion of Gaza, you would be entering a maze! According to a guestimate, Hamas had dug a total of 2,500 underground tunnels, an intricate complex, like a huge underground maze, with a total length of 500 kilometers, much longer than the London subway. If it really comes to street fighting, Israel will probably suffer hardship.
Future KQ: Soldiers of Hamas were considered heroes when they attacked Israel. When they were eliminated by Israeli military, there were called civilians. Were they soldiers or civilians? Or are soldiers and civilians mixed in Gaza? How would Israel react when Hamas place its soldiers together with the civilians? Terrorist organization Hamas’s crime against humanity in slaughtering Israeli people is unforgivable! As long as this extreme terrorist organization exists, peace will never arrive!
Black rice talking America: The New York Times openly apologized for its fake report. The paper used only statement from Hamas to report that Israel had bombed the Gaza hospital. More and more evidence later showed that the crude rocket had been fired from Gaza. The New York Times had to correct its earlier reporting and issue an apology.
Unicorn comments: Some net friends have reported Si Manan to the Israeli Embassy in China, accusing him of spreading antisemitic remarks online multiple times and supporting Hamas. They asked the Israeli government to work with the United States government to seize Si’s property in the U.S. and deport Si’s family from the U.S.
Mystery rabbit lady X: Hamas did a great job! In recent days, Hamas released two elder Israeli ladies, 79 and 85, and handing them to the International Red Cross. The two elders emerged on the arms of Hamas soldiers, appearing calm and composed, not frightened or scared. It’s loving other’s elders as your own. Hamas hostage taking was the result of resistance forced by Israel. After all, where there is oppression, there is resistance.
Imperial bar blogging: Hamas released two hostages today. The good things said about Hamas at the press conference have already become a public relations disaster for Israel.
Iron soldier boy: Teeth for teeth! Hamas is fighting more and more ferociously! After hitting Israeli parliament, Hamas again fired hundreds of rockets, hitting the Ashkelon government building on the border, causing a huge fireball. Not sure about the number of casualties!