2022 marks nearly five decades since the death of Chinese leader Mao Zedong, but the legacy of his Great Leap Forward lingers on for Chinese farmers that raise livestock and fish or grow crops. Chinese history has made many demands of the country’s agricultural workers, relying on their labor while granting few benefits in return.
In recent years, press secretaries in China’s Foreign Ministry have increasingly ventured beyond their podiums and onto social media, conducting rapid-response interventions on Western platforms like Twitter and YouTube. This reflects the emphasis Beijing is putting on finding creative ways to “tell better Chinese stories.”
In the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week, much of the commentary in the U.S. has been on the visit’s impact on U.S.-China relations. Unfortunately, the reactions within Taiwan and China have attracted less attention, as they are revealing of domestic factors driving decision-making on both sides of the strait.
A video depicting a chained woman in a dark shack in the Chinese city of Xuzhou went viral, racking up more than 1.9 billion views on Chinese social media. But the reaction by authorities to the video show how online outrage is often corralled and stripped of its more systemic critiques of the state.