Chinese react to Castro's death on social media

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/27 13:21:01

Chinese people reacted to the death of Fidel Castro on social media after news broke out that the former Cuban leader died at the age of 90 late Friday.

Castro is hailed by generations of Chinese people as an epitome of idealism and a warrior who fought against social injustice.

His well-known speeches such as "History will absolve me" have been circulating on line and people are talking about how he pitted himself against 11 US presidents in his life.

Castro had maintained close ties with China and the Chinese people who admire him.

"Castro is seen as a hero in China and his passing will be considered a great loss by many Chinese who knows the history and destiny that China and Cuba shared," said Hua Liming, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies and a former Chinese Ambassador to Iran and the UAE. 

China and Cuba bonded on similar ideologies and difficult times when the two countries faced enormous challenges from the West in the 1950s, Hua told the Global Times Saturday. 

"Both countries faced a lot of hostility and containment from the West, and Castro's reputation of leading such a small country against its gigantic neighbor is an inspiration for many not only in China but smaller countries as well," Hua said.

The reaction of Chinese citizens to the passing of Castro also reflects the challenges China and Cuba still face today from the West, according to Hua. 

"Though China has achieved great progress in economic development in recent decades, the West led by the US still views us with rose-colored eyes," Hua said, adding Cuba also faces a similar treatment, despite the fact that the US and Cuba recently normalized their diplomatic relations.

And as China and Cuba continue to face these challenges, "it is understandable that some people will miss someone like Castro, who can stand up to the West," Hua said.

Castro made his last state visit to China in 2003 as President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba. He held talks with then Chinese president Jiang Zemin and other leaders on bilateral ties, international and regional issues, following a grand welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. 

President Xi Jinping met with Castro twice from 2011 to 2014.

During Xi's state visit to Cuba in 2014, the two had warm discussions. 

"You are deeply admired by the Cuban people and have also won the respect of the Chinese people. We will never forget the significant contributions you have made to bilateral relationships," Xi said during the talk.

Premier Li Keqiang met with Castro in September this year during his visit to the island nation. Li is the first Chinese premier to visit Cuba in more than five decades.

The meeting between Li and Castro was described by Cuban media as "brother-like" and the two leaders had an "earnest conversation" that covered the long-lasting relationship between China and Cuba and current international affairs.

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