The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has met with mixed reactions in China and offline, with some deplorable attempts by online commentators to downplay the Taliban’s attitude towards women, as the Communist Party of China (CCP) tried to present the victorious armed movement as a potential ally. for Beijing.
An anonymous post – since deleted – on the Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo described “very good feelings” about the Taliban, “although I know, I know … that tens of millions of women and girls will be now deprived of the right to education. “
Comments were sent to the post, with one user sarcastically remarking “I know they are inhuman, but I still support them”, and another stating that the poster was “full of endless wishful thinking about the Taliban” .
User @Aoki_momo said the post was likely the result of the government’s recent cancellation of out-of-school tutoring. âIt did so much damage, not allowing make-up lessons during summer break,â the user said, while @ Nuitinacheve4 advised âJust turn on the TV and watch the newsâ.
@In fact my name is Nicky just pointed out, “What kind of bullshit is this? Nonsense.”
Comments supporting the Taliban spread across the tightly controlled Chinese Internet, earning it a new nickname, “Jingta,” or “Taliban in Spirit,” with a vocal backlash against them also visible.
Maoist strategy credited
Other comments have suggested similarities between the CCP’s victory in mainland China in 1949 and the current victory of the Taliban.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with a Taliban delegation in Tianjin, north China, on July 28, 2021, where the head of the Taliban’s political commission, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, told Wang that the Taliban “will never allow any force to use Afghan territory to commit acts harmful to China.”
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Aug. 16 that China is maintaining contact and communication with the Taliban and playing “a constructive role” in a political settlement for Afghanistan.
She said the Taliban also welcomed China’s potential participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.
The official journal of the CCP, People’s Daily, published an opinion piece on Aug. 17 suggesting that the Taliban had won through military tactics adopted by the late Chinese Supreme Leader Mao Zedong, who recommended “surrounding the towns in the countryside.”
âAren’t you going to mention their religious fundamentalism? one commentator wrote under the People’s Daily article. âWhat about the stoning and the fact that women have to cover themselves outside their eyes?
“How about an article showing us if women are not better than sex slaves under the Taliban?” “
“Talibanization of popular thought”
Another comment referred to the Taliban exploding giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan in March 2001.
“Many of my friends compare the capture of Kabul by the Taliban to the successful end of the Chinese revolution in 1949,” an anonymous Chinese netizen told RFA. âThere is a sort of Talibanization of people’s thinking in China right now, which is new,â the netizen said.
An online commentator named Tian said there is huge variation in Chinese public opinion regarding recent events in Afghanistan.
“I could see it as the lesser of two evils, even if the Afghan people didn’t really want it, but forced it on them,” Tian said. “This does not mean that I support the actions of the Taliban; they are definitely against universal values.”
An independent scholar named Kong has said he does not believe the Taliban’s promises of freedom for women and forgiveness for all.
“We cannot yet say whether these remarks by the Taliban (…) are just rhetoric or represent a real change of course,” Kong said. “But it can be said that a political movement that takes control of a country by force will inevitably use force to maintain that power.”
“Political power comes from the barrel of a gun,” Kong said, quoting Mao Zedong. “So they will have to use firearms to defend this power.”
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.