In a post made to Weibo early this morning, one Chinese user wrote: “[#ChinaIsNotScared#] I’ve heard Trump is getting angry, and now considering another 100 billion in tariffs against China? Let me tell you: China is not scared! Whoever wants to prevent China’s expansion will pay a painful price in the end!”
A poster from the Cultural Revolution expressing opposition to the “American empire.”
The post, its clear support for China in the ongoing spat over trade notwithstanding, was quickly deleted by censors — indicating that the topic of tariffs and trade is a highly sensitive one for the leadership, which hopes to curtail discussion among internet users even as it actively pushes a state-led narrative of resistance. It is clear from a Weibo search of the keyword “trade war” (贸易战), however, that much related content remains on the platform, including coverage and commentary from official and non-official news outlets, like the People’s Daily and Caixin.
Much coverage takes a tone not unlike that of the deleted Weibo post above, pledging, as one China Business News Weibo post says, parroting the People’s Daily, that “China has nothing to be polite about, and will make the United States pay a price.”
In a rebuttal to the#ChinaIsNotScared# Weibo post made at 9:38AM, and also deleted about 90 minutes later, user “Zhang Zanbo” (張贊波) wrote: “This state media way of talking is like one of those poses from the Cultural Revolution.”
The post included the image of a propaganda poster from the early 1970s. The poster shows a band of soldiers and workers in a triumphant pose, with the red slogan underneath: “It’s not the people who fear the American imperialists, but the American imperialists who fear the people” (不是人民怕美帝而是美帝怕人民).