World A Chinese Communist Party-linked account mocked India's Covid crisis on social media. It backfired
'Horrible' weeks ahead as India's virus catastrophe worsens
NEW DELHI (AP) — COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis and a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible.” India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system.
For most of China, last week'swas simply a moment of pride. But for one social media account linked to the ruling Communist Party, it was a crass opportunity to mock India's Covid-19 tragedy.
On the micro-blogging platform Weibo, the account posted a photo of the Chinese Long March-5B carrier rocket blasting off, alongside a picture of cremation pyres burning at night in India under the watch of people in hazmat suits.
SOS messages, panic as virus breaks India's health system
NEW DELHI (AP) — Dr. Gautam Singh dreads the daily advent of the ventilator beeps, signaling that oxygen levels are critically low, and hearing his critically ill patients start gasping for air in the New Delhi emergency ward where he works. Like other doctors across the country, which on Monday set another record for new coronavirus infections for a fifth day in a row at more than 350,000, the cardiologist has taken to begging and borrowing cylinders of oxygen just to keep his most critical patients alive for one more day.
"China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire," the caption read, accompanied by a hashtag declaring that India's Covid-19 cases had surged past 400,000 a day.
The account that posted the photos is linked to the Central Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, a powerful organ of the ruling Communist Party, overseeing the country's courts and law enforcement bodies. Several other government accounts run by the police and local courts shared the pictures.
Though nationalist sentiment against India has been running high in recent months due to border disputes, many Chinese social media users were shocked. "I can't believe this was posted by a government account. Why do you need to use the suffering of others to highlight national pride?" read one top comment underneath the post.
Modi could have prevented India's devastating Covid-19 crisis, critics say. He didn't
When countries rose in India, the country didn't go into lockdown. Instead, the government allowed mass gatherings at religious festivals and political rallies to go ahead.His country was on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. That day, India recorded more than 261,000 new coronavirus cases -- more than many countries have seen during the entire pandemic.
"How can this be approved (by censors)? It's a complete disrespect of human life," read another.
Even Hu Xijin, the Editor in Chief of the Global Times, a state-run newspaper known for its nationalist stance, criticized the post: "I don't think it's proper for social media accounts of certain Chinese official institutions or other influential forces to mock India at present."
Amid the backlash online, the post comparing China's launch to India's Covid deaths was removed from Weibo. A hashtag relating to the post was also deleted. The censorship could well have been a sign of disapproval from higher up in the Party. Just days earlier, President Xi Jinping sent condolences to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and offered China's assistance, following a series of similar pledges by Chinese officials -- all part of an effort to present Beijing as a supportive and responsible neighbor.
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Meenakshi Narula Ahamed writes that India's prime minister Narendra Modi's handling of the pandemic is endangering the country's public health but also its public institutions and democracy.By 2014, when Narendra Modi became prime minister of the world's largest democracy, India had long shed her image being one of the poorest nations teeming with starving and sick people in constant need of foreign aid. Under a team of pro-western reformers, India underwent an economic transformation in the 90's and by the early 2000's was being hailed as an economic powerhouse and an attractive partner for the western alliance.
The incident is the latest example of how a clumsy attempt to stoke nationalism can strike an insensitive note.
On Twitter, China's "wolf warrior" diplomats frequently post controversial comments. Last week, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, posted a modified version of Japan's famous Great Wave woodblock print, to condemn releasing treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. It was criticized as insulting Japanese culture, and prompted a swift protest from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Last year, Zhao tweeted a digitally altered image that appeared to show ansoldier threatening to slit the throat of an Afghan child, which drew stern condemnation from Australia as "repugnant."
And in January, when denying allegations of forced sterilization in Xinjiang, the Chinese embassy in the US said on Twitter that Uyghur women had been "emancipated" from extremism and were no longer "baby-making machines." The post was later removed by Twitter.
India tops 200,000 dead as virus surge breaks health system
NEW DELHI (AP) — India crossed a grim milestone Wednesday of 200,000 people lost to the coronavirus as a devastating surge of new infections tears through dense cities and rural areas alike and overwhelms health care systems on the brink of collapse. The health ministry reported a single-day record 3,293 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing India's total fatalities to 201,187, as the world's second most populous country endures its darkest chapter of the pandemic yet. The country also reported 362,757 new infections, a new global record, which raised the overall total past 17.9 million.
While such posts can win support from hardline Chinese nationalists -- and perhaps recognition from some Party bosses -- it is China's international image that ultimately pays the price. And sometimes, as in the case of mocking India's crisis, Beijing's diplomatic charm offensive, too.
- was defeated .
- The Australian government is facing backlash over rules that could see citizens who fly home from India face up to five years in prison.
- Meanwhile in China, a man sailed from the eastern province of Fujian across the Taiwan Strait in a dingy, .
The business of China
TikTok has finally appointed a new permanent chief executive, eight months after the company's leader called it quits as the United States was threatening to ban the app.
The company on Friday announced that it has named Shouzi Chew as CEO. He already serves as chief financial officer of ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese owner.
'How Can Modi Be Forgiven?' India's COVID-19 Crisis May Be Turning the Middle Class Against the Prime Minister
'How Can Modi Be Forgiven?' India's COVID-19 Crisis May Be Turning the Middle Class Against the Prime MinisterIt was an unusual request, she admitted, but these are unusual times. The doctor’s own mother was in a bed next to the critical patient, and she feared that his corpse might be left there throughout the night. Mortuaries throughout the Indian capital are overstretched, the doctor says, and bodies sometimes lie around uncovered among the living till the muscles harden and rigor mortis sets in.
Vanessa Pappas, who previously served as TikTok's interim head, is moving to the role of chief operating officer.
"The leadership team of Shou and Vanessa sets the stage for sustained growth," ByteDance CEO Yiming Zhang said in a statement.
"Shou brings deep knowledge of the company and industry, having led a team that was among our earliest investors, and having worked in the technology sector for a decade. He will add depth to the team, focusing on areas including corporate governance and long-term business initiatives."
Chew is based in his hometown of Singapore, suggesting the company no longer feels it needs a US-based leader.
Last year, TikTok faced a dramatic, months-long battle in the United States after the Trump administration threatened to ban the short video platform unless it sold its American business to a US entity.
But since then, the company has largely stayed out of the spotlight, with little action since US President Joe Biden took office.
-- By Michelle Toh
Picture of the day
Tiananmen remembered: Activists clean a monument known as the "Pillar of National Sorrow" at the University of Hong Kong on May 2, 2021, in Hong Kong, to commemorate the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen crackdown and the 102nd anniversary of the May Fourth Movement. It is unclear if the city's annual candlelit vigil will take place this June after the passage of a national security law.
A 'red tourism' boom for May Day
China began a five-day national break Saturday to mark May Day, with millions taking advantage of the country's low coronavirus case numbers to travel domestically.
Opinion: Modi has offered little more than hollow words amid India's horrifying covid crisis
On April 20, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the country following a surge in Covid-19 cases. People were expecting answers, a plan, something. Instead, Modi said he felt the pain of the nation but opted not to instate a nationwide lockdown, which several states had already initiated by the time of his address. He also encouraged young people to form neighborhood watch committees to ensure people were following Covid-19 protocols. © Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images BENGALURU, INDIA - APRIL 30: A man wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) performs the last rites of a deceased relative in a disused granite quarry repurposed to cremate the dead
According to state news agency, nearly 18.83 million passenger trips were made on Chinese railways on Saturday, an increase of 9.2% on 2019. An additional 14.2 million trips were expected Sunday.
One major hit with tourists this year are so-called "red" sites, attractions which focus on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) history, state mediathis weekend. May 1 commemorates International Workers' Day, and this year is also the centennial of the CCP, supercharging attendance at revolutionary attractions.
According to Xinhua, 13 red tourism" sites in Guangdong had received 23,000 visits by 3 p.m. on Saturday, an increase of almost 300% year-on-year, though figures in 2020 may have been lower as a result of the pandemic partially affecting travel.
Since 2004, the number of people taking part in red tourism has increased from 140 million to 1.41 billion,, following major investment by local and regional authorities and concerted promotion of such attractions in state-run media.
Such sites may also be a welcome alternative to traditional tourist attractions: photos from the weekend showed heaving crowds at Beijing's Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall.
India's Covid-19 crisis: What you need to know about the cases, variants, vaccines in the second wave .
India is experiencing the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak, recording the highest daily cases globally for five straight days.Now, the country is experiencing the world's worst outbreak. Daily cases have been rising continuously for the past 10 days; on Monday, India reported 352,991 new cases, breaking yet another record for the highest single-day figure globally.