Chinese investors, angry about the state of their country’s economy, are using an unlikely forum to vent their frustrations: A post about giraffes on the US Embassy’s Weibo account.
In the hopes that Chinese censors won’t delete their comments, commenters have taken the opportunity to share unrelated complaints about China’s struggling economy.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index fell 6.3% last month to a five-year low after a series of government measures failed to confidence among investors, according to Reuters.
Bloomberg reported that China and Hong Kong’s stock markets accumulated $7 trillion in losses since their 2021 peaks.
The Weibo account of the US embassy in China “has become the Wailing Wall of Chinese retail equity investors”, one user wrote on the post, according to Reuters.
Many of the comments were later deleted, CNN reported. The situation shows how the government’s censorship — and its citizens’ efforts to avoid being silenced — has reached new heights.
The US Embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The US government, please help Chinese stock investors,” one person wrote in a repost of the Weibo article, according to CNN.
Other Weibo users commented that the stock market is a “casino” and an “execution ground,” Bloomberg reported.
“Anger has reached an extreme level,” another Weibo user said, according to Bloomberg.
Some commenters used humor and sarcasm to get around the country’s strict social media restrictions.
“Arise! All giraffes who refuse to be slaves,” one person wrote, referencing the line in China’s national anthem: “Arise! All who refuse to be slaves,” according to CNN.
Another person commented: “The entire giraffe community is filled with optimism,” according to CNN. The comment appeared to reference an article published in the Chinese state-owned People’s Daily newspaper about the visit of a German communist politician with the headline: “The whole country is filled with optimism.”
China has one of the world’s most censored media industries, with digital news and social media use heavily restricted throughout the country.
Some social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, are prohibited and the government monitors social media platforms that are allowed, such as Weibo.
The apparent censorship matters — it appears to be part of a government campaign to silence those critical of the country’s financial state. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that authorities deleted multiple Chinese online news articles containing critical coverage of the country’s economy.
Writing in its official WeChat account, China’s Ministry of State Security deterred citizens from believing the “false narratives” about the trajectory of China, according to the NYT report. Meanwhile, top officials have publicly spoken about the importance of elevating the “bright prospects of China’s economy,” according to the Journal.