Wife of US consul general in Chengdu in controversy over ‘Nazi’ comparison post

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/26 20:08:40

US Consulate General in Chengdu. Photo:VCG

 The wife of the US consul general in Chengdu has been caught up in controversy on social media for comparing her family's departure from the Southwest Chinese city in February, when the virus was rife, to Jews fleeing Nazis during World War II. 

When the US consulate in southwest Chengdu came under the spotlight after it was ordered to close on Friday by China as a reciprocal measure against the US demanding the closure of China's Consulate General in Houston, Chuang Tzu-i, the wife of Jim Mullinax, whose official title is still Chengdu consul general according to the official website of US Embassy and Consulates in China, was soon drawn into controversy for previous "inappropriate" Nazi comparisons.

Chuang, a food writer with nearly 600,000 followers, put up a post on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform on July 1, looking back at her life in Chengdu and her hasty departure in February, when the US asked diplomats to leave China amid COVID-19 outbreak, and expressed her affection for the city and her friends there. 

But in her post, she said of the hasty departure: "I had a fleeting thought whether the Jews were like us when they left their homes to hide from the Nazis before World War II. Then I shook the emotions out of my head, telling myself that I'll be back soon."

After the Chengdu consulate was ordered to close, Chuang soon drew wider attention due to her posts on Sina Weibo. 

Some netizens believe Chuang was implying that the Chinese government was persecuting foreign citizens, prompting a flood of accusatory comments. One netizen wrote, "It looks as if there is nothing wrong with the post, but the 'Jews and Nazis' comparison is just enigmatic." Another commented, "You are not a Jew, and the Chinese are not Nazis." 

However, some netizens also left encouraging messages. One comment read, "We look forward that you'd soon return to our romantic, magnanimous, casual, and fashionable city of Chengdu."

Chuang's controversial Weibo post received more than 8,000 comments. Usually, her posts garner less than 100 comments. 

Netizens' fury was also fueled after they found Chuang's other speeches on overseas platforms such as Facebook, which has been accused by net users as full of anti-China sentiment. 

A screenshot shows that Chuang commented on Facebook earlier to her friends, who are suspected of supporting the Hong Kong riots, and wrote, "do not ask all independent thinkers in the Chinese mainland to openly stand up and be cannon-fodder just because we enjoy the privilege of freedom." 

Many net users then called her "a two-faced web celebrity," who appeals to her followers on Sina Weibo with poetic and artistic words about food, but also did not miss any ammunition, such as Tibet and Hong Kong issues, to stir up secessionism in China. "Wake up, fans of Chuang," urged one netizen.

As a Chinese who was born in the island of Taiwan, a Columbia-graduate, and a gourmet and chef, Chuang is one of the most popular diplomat dependants in China. Most of her Weibo posts are about her cooking and daily life. 

In response to the US demand for closing the Chinese Consulate-General in Houston, the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday informed the US Embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the US Consulate General in Chengdu. The ministry didn't make public the deadline for the departure of the mission's personnel, but it's expected to be Monday morning.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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