Chinese Internet Is Exploding with Memes About the Fiery US-China Talks

China’s tough talk with U.S. officials in Alaska has found a receptive audience at home.
March 19, 2021, 12:17pm
China U.S. memes Alaska Blinken
China's top diplomats are praised at home for standing up to the U.S. PHOTO: Frederic J. BROWN / POOL / AFP

The combative meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials in Alaska has triggered an outpouring of nationalistic pride in China, as state media portray China’s hard-line stance at the meeting as proof of the country’s rise.

State media and internet users have shared a series of memes depicting how Chinese officials have stood up to the world’s superpower, when they were accused of violating human rights, coercing U.S. allies, and even running overtime in their opening speeches.

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Here are some popular memes trending on Chinese social media.

1. 1901 vs. 2021 

State media have put a photo of the negotiation in Alaska alongside an iconic photo from 1901, when Qing Dynasty officials signed the Boxer Protocol with foreign powers and was forced to pay a massive indemnity for the loss of foreign lives and property during a campaign against Christianity and foreigners.

Dubbed an “unequal treaty” in China, the 1901 accord is regarded as part of China’s century of humiliation, a period of Western suppression on the Chinese nation before the founding of Communist China in 1949. 

The sharp contrast between the two negotiations is perceived as a demonstration that the Chinese nation had amassed enough strength to confront the power that had bullied it in the past. 

“The world has not changed, but China has changed,” said a comment that was liked more than 55,000 times. 

2. Instant noodles

State media have also promoted a video, in which China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi told his colleague that he had instant noodles for lunch.  

Some internet users accused the U.S. of failing to provide proper food to Chinese diplomats, while many others praised 70-year-old Yang for his dedication to defending China. 

“The time is tight but the workload is heavy,” the top comment said. “Even with instant noodles, I can defeat those who eat steaks.” 

3. Rabbits fighting eagles 

The tense scene in Alaska between Chinese and American officials has also been adapted into cartoon GIFs showing rabbits and eagles exchanging verbal attacks and throwing papers at each other. 

The cartoon rabbit is a popular character used to represent China by pro-Beijing nationalists. 

“Rabbits also bite when they are provoked,” one Weibo user wrote. 

4. ‘Japanese bow’ 

Chinese internet users also shared a photo from Antony Blinken’s visit to Japan this week. 

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Chinese internet users have mocked Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for bowing to U.S. officials. Photo: Eugene Hoshiko / POOL / AFP

In the photo, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appeared to be bowing as he greeted Antony Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. 

The U.S. has sought to strengthen its relationship with allies in the Asia-Pacific region to contain China’s ambitions. 

But some internet users have cited the photo and mocked the Japanese leader for fully submitting to U.S. dominance. 

In contrast, they believe China’s hawkish tone shows it is able to resist what they consider as the U.S.’ overreach. 

Follow Viola Zhou on Twitter.