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Chinese post mocking India’s COVID-19 deaths pulled after outrage: report

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The Chinese Communist Party’s law enforcement body pulled a posting mocking India’s COVID-19 death crisis following fierce backlash online in China, according to a report. 

The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on Saturday posted on its official Sina Weibo account — the Chinese equivalent of Twitter — sharing side-by-side images of a Chinese missile launch next to cremation fires in India.

It was captioned: “China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire.”

An accompanying hashtag noted that coronavirus cases in hard-hit India have exceeded 400,000 a day, Bloomberg News reported.

The image on the account, which has 15 million followers, quickly went viral and prompted howls of outrage from users who were angered by the posting. ​

The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission  post about India.
The post by The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission reads “China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire.”
Sina Weibo

“I don’t think it’s proper for social media accounts of certain Chinese official institutions or other influential forces to mock India at present,” said Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a Communist Party-backed newspaper.

The accounts should “hold high the banner of humanitarianism at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on a moral high ground,” Hu​ ​​said.​

Burning pyres of Covid-19 victims in India.
The deadly COVID-19 surge in India has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

”I don’t think we can expect a clarification from the Party account in question, but I do think there was no consensus on this post or else it would not have been removed so quickly,” said Manya Koetse, the editor-in-chief of What’s On Weibo, which tracks trending issues on the platform.

China’s foreign ministry tried to shift the focus. ​

“We hope everyone gives attention to the Chinese government and mainstream public opinion supporting India’s fight against the epidemic,” it told Bloomberg News​, adding that ​China will continue to send more supplies to India in the coming days. 

The record-breaking surge of coronavirus cases in India has overwhelmed the country’s cremation facilities, morgues and hospitals.

Hu Xijin, chief editor of Global Times.
“I don’t think it’s proper…to mock India at present,” said Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times.
South China Morning Post via Getty Images

Cremations are being held en masse across the country, and families and relatives are scouring hospitals for oxygen for loved ones. 

According to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker, India has nearly 20 million cases, second only to the US.

More than 218,000 people have died. 

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