A social media post from an account linked to the Chinese Communist Party has sparked controversy for appearing to mock India over its coronavirus crisis.
The post on Chinese site Weibo showed an image of a rocket taking off in China alongside a photo of corpses of Covid victims being cremated in the dark in India. Text with it read: “Lighting a fire in China VS lighting a fire in India.”
The obvious insinuation being that China is increasingly modern while India remains backward.
The post, which appeared on Saturday afternoon, has since been deleted.
It was reportedly published by an account belonging to an official Chinese law enforcement agency – the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission – which has millions of followers on Weibo, a popular microblogging site in the country.
Weibo users responded to the post, which was later shared using screenshots of the original, by writing that it was “inappropriate” and that China “should express sympathy for India”.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of China’s Global Times media outlet, wrote: “Hold high the banner of humanitarianism at this time, show sympathy for India, and firmly place Chinese society on a moral high ground.”
The Weibo post appeared a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the country’s deepening Covid-19 crisis.
Xi said China was willing to enhance cooperation with India and provide any additional help where needed.
India is struggling to cope with a devastating second wave of coronavirus, with hospitals battling to treat patients amid a chronic shortage of beds and medical oxygen.
On Sunday, India recorded an official coronavirus death toll of 3,689 – the highest since the pandemic began.
It came a day after the country became the first to record more than 400,000 new cases within a 24-hour period.