As Beijing seethes over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (HKHRDA), Chinese state media yesterday circulated a poster appearing to call on people to trash the White House — though they couldn’t quite manage to get the image right.
Adopting the slang of Hong Kong protesters, the poster notes the signing of the act and adds, “You are welcome to renovate the White House” (“renovate” having become the term of art among demonstrators for trashing pro-Beijing businesses). The poster also features an illustration of black-clad protesters in gas masks and hardhats lobbing petrol bombs, not at the White House, but at what appears to be the U.S. Capitol, the seat of Congress.
But it’s not exactly the Capitol either. In fact, if you look closely, it’s actually more of a kind of Franken-building amalgamation in which the Capitol’s dome has been grafted onto the White House.
People's Daily and CCTV, two Chinese state media both with presence in the US, ask Chinese "patriots" to trash the White House in protest of the Human Rights bill re: #HongKong and #Xinjiang (with a Capitol Hill image?)https://t.co/GmN7unFBgZhttps://t.co/FSVPZQYoHx pic.twitter.com/2F1iakaYTa
— Chris Derps (@ChrisDerps) December 5, 2019
(Granted, Congress definitely had just as much to do with the bill becoming law as the White House did — if not more — but still, get your buildings straight. Or at least draw real ones.)
Both state-run outlets appear to have since quietly pulled down the posts, but not before they were well-documented online. (Coconuts HK was also able to independently verify that the outlets had posted the image.)
Outcry on the (uncensored parts of) the internet was swift, with netizens not only ridiculing the outlets for the mix-up, but also wondering aloud just what the hell they were thinking circulating such inflammatory rhetoric.
“Keep it up, guys, this is a super good tactic and nothing could possibly [go] wrong,” one commenter drily noted.
It was a different story over on the other side of the Great Firewall, however. But maybe not in the ways you might expect.
Rather than patriotically endorsing the call to give the U.S. a taste of its own “meddling” medicine, Chinese netizens seemed quicker to defend the outlets for making the mistake of confusing the Capitol for the White House.
“This picture seems really fake,” one commenter on the mainland forum 6park said. “You should really study CCTV’s Weibo before making up these rumors!”
Another even offered a theory as to who might really be behind the post.
“To be honest, CCTV doesn’t do anything that is useless and meaningless!” they said. “Maybe it was Falun Gong.”