KEY POINTS

  • A social media post on Weibo compared China's space module launch to India's mass cremations
  • The post earned backlash from social media users
  • Xi Jinping had recently expressed his condolences to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A social media post from an account linked to the Chinese government has received backlash after it appeared to mock India’s COVID-19 crisis. 

The Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on Saturday afternoon posted photos of the Tianhe module launch on its official Sina Weibo account. The social media post compared the module’s fuel burn-off to the fire from a mass cremation site in India. It also used a hashtag that referred to India’s new COVID-19 cases, which has surpassed 400,000 a day. 

The Tianhe module, launched April 29, is the core module of China's upcoming Tiangong space station. 

"Lighting a fire in China VS lighting a fire in India,” the post read

Social media users, some of whom shared screenshots of the original post, called out the Chinese law enforcement agency's post for being “inappropriate.” Other users also urged the Chinese Communist Party to “show sympathy” for India. 

“Hold high the banner of humanitarianism at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on a moral high ground,” Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Chinese communist party, wrote. 

“Caption says “China firing up VS India firing up.” This is a Chinese govt Weibo account. The lack of basic decency is just unbelievable. Are some young bureaucrats managing the account? To what extent it reflects the mindset of the younger generation in the CCP?” Yaqiu Wang, a researcher for Human Rights Watch and a columnist for MSNBC, wrote on Twitter. 

In a similar post that appeared Friday, Beijing’s Ministry of Public Security compared its “fire god mountain,” an emergency hospital complex in Wuhan, to a photo of a mass cremation in India. 

In response to the posts, which have since been deleted, China’s foreign ministry noted that Communist Party would continue sending India supplies to help it navigate through the devastating coronavirus outbreak. 

“We hope everyone gives attention to the Chinese government and mainstream public opinion supporting India’s fight against the epidemic,” the office of the ministry’s spokesperson told Bloomberg

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently sent his condolences to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite the two countries' tense relationship. The Chinese president also said Beijing will provide support to the coronavirus-devastated country and explore channels to enhance cooperation between the two countries. 

Indian hospitals are struggling to cope as cases spiral out of control Indian hospitals are struggling to cope as cases spiral out of control Photo: AFP / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA