Chinese netizens bombard US consulate's COVID-19 event as 'inciting gender confrontation, violating epidemic rules'
Published: Jan 14, 2021 10:03 PM

China US Photo:VCG

An invitation to a panel discussion on women's role in COVID-19 control by the US Consulate General Guangzhou has sparked wide criticism and ridicule from Chinese netizens who stormed the commentary section of the consulate general's social media account, questioning how it "has the nerve" to launch such an event to incite confrontations between men and women in China, when the US has failed in controlling COVID-19 and seen the deaths of nearly 400,000 Americans.

The US Consulate General Guangzhou posted on Weibo on Tuesday an invitation of the panel discussion titled "Women on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Response," in which it said that a group of women who served on the frontlines of the pandemic response would speak about their experience working in a variety of sectors, including health and education, during the event on Thursday.

And in the event description, it also cited late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, saying women hold up half the sky. 

The post immediately drew a backlash from Chinese netizens. A comment with over 10,000 likes said "what made you have the nerve to organize such an event, when your own country is in a mess in COVID-19 response. Are you preparing to spread ideological virus or coronavirus during the event?"

Some said the consulate did not deserve to mention Mao, and the US should mind its own business, including saving more Americans from the pandemic or dealing with its political chaos. 

Some questioned the intention of the consulate to launch an event during the epidemic when many Chinese provinces and cities including Guangzhou moved to limit gatherings. 

"Don't try to incite confrontations between men and women in China, please go watch the 'beautiful sight' in your own country," one netizen said.

Many Chinese netizens called the scene of Trump supporters storming the Capitol, messing up House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, clashing with police officers and looting items the "beautiful sight," a term first used by Pelosi in describing Hong Kong riots in 2019. 

In response to Chinese netizens' comments, Alan Clark, Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate General Guangzhou, told the Global Times in an email on Thursday that attendance at their events is capped at 50 percent of venue capacity, and guests are seated at least one meter apart in response to guidance from local health authorities. 

And guests who attend the public events of the consulate general are "free to express their personal opinions, including criticism of the United States," Clark said. 

The consulate has drawn a backlash on Chinese social media over its previous events. In July 2020, a lecture on "Black Lives Matter" triggered ridicule from Chinese netizens who said the consulate had ulterior motives of inciting a "color revolution" in Guangzhou, saying that the best place to hold such an event is the Oval Office. 

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