Castro’s death stirs ideology clash in China

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/27 23:48:40

Revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro passed away Friday at the age of 90. Since he had already handed over leadership of the island in 2011, his death did not have any political ramifications globally; nevertheless, the news was a big event in the public opinion sphere.

Castro was the last statesman to have gone through the revolutionary era of the 20th century. Many state leaders sent condolences to Cuba while politicians worldwide issued statements, media outlets published comment and individuals gave their opinion on social media platforms.

Evaluations of Castro's legacy are complex and poles apart. The US had considered Cuba as a foe for a long time and applied sanctions and embargos on the country for over half a century. President Obama said in a statement that "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him." But President-elect Donald Trump called the late Cuban leader a "brutal dictator." In the developing world, most state leaders heralded Castro as a "great man" or "hero."

Divergent viewpoints can be found on China's social media websites, with some attacking and disparaging posts against Castro among the most radical in global public opinion. They cited a Chinese newspaper article lashing out at Castro at a time when Cuba was cozying up to the former Soviet Union to support their views. There is even a fake article on the number of women the former Cuban leader had allegedly slept with.

A few people holding such views have a poor sense of history and low levels of knowledge. Of course, some are driven by ideology: Castro cannot be a good man since he held an anti-American stance for long.

The Castro-led revolution was part of the tide of revolution of the 20th century. Castro persisted for a long time right under the nose of the US. Washington's suppression against Havana is highly controversial and to this day has not achieved its original aims.

Castro was an idealist, and his political ethos is widely supported in Latin America. Cuba faces huge exterior pressure to realize its ideals, yet Castro is admired by many who understand his thinking. Despite facing a huge threat from the US, Castro had not led his country to radical militarization, and devoted the country's limited resources to education, health care and other sectors to improve people's livelihoods.

In today's China, those who blindly idolize the West are the most ideological. In their eyes, history and reality are black and white. They are against every Chinese policy and mainstream idea.

These negative voices should be put under control, although it may be more realistic and reliable if society becomes more adaptable to these noises.

Most Chinese respect Castro and regard Cuba as a good friend. The sentiment embodies the diplomatic rationality of the society. The radical voices  do not mean anything, other than representing the diversity of this era.

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