The political crisis in Venezuela is making Beijing so nervous that it is cracking down on Twitter users who post any information on the matter. Though Twitter is banned in China, some access the social media website using VPNs. These users are now getting targeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Cracking down on truth
Zhao Weidong, who tweets using the name Zhao Su, had recently retweeted a post from another Twitter user which said: “How did Venezuela go from being the richest democracy in the world to a totalitarian socialist state? Well, we have [Chinese president Xi Jinping] to thank for that, for exporting the evils of communism to the whole world!” (Radio Free Asia).
Chinese censors picked this up and the local police called in Zhao for questioning. He was later fined US$75 by authorities for retweeting “false information.” When online free speech activist Wu Bin tweeted in support of Zhao, he was approached by police and forced to delete the tweet. Wu felt it ridiculous that censorship in China was getting so serious that one could not even criticize a foreign government.
Another Twitter user known by the name Wang stated that China’s crackdown on anti-Maduro tweets stem from the fact that the CCP is essentially afraid the Venezuelan people’s protest against its government might end up inspiring the Chinese population to rise against Party rule.
“The incident involving Zhao Su from Xi’an… shows that the Chinese Communist regime’s so-called self-confidence is actually non-existent… They are in a state of high alert because of the changes in the political situation in Venezuela,” he said in a tweet (Breitbart).
Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, is apparently working hard to make China pull back support for the ruling Maduro regime. Currently, Guaidó enjoys the support of the U.S. and most of the European and Latin American nations. The only roadblock to Guaidó’s ascension to power in Venezuela is China and Russia’s support for Nicolas Maduro.
Guidó has guaranteed that all business and trade agreements signed by China and Russia with the Maduro regime will be honored as long as they have followed the rule of law. “We want to establish a transparent relationship with China and put an end to the plundering of our resources that has prevailed under Maduro’s government, which has ultimately also affected Chinese investors… China’s development projects in Venezuela have been falling as they have been affected and destroyed by corruption or debt default,” Guaidó said to Bloomberg.
Both China and Russia have loaned billions of dollars to Venezuela under the Maduro administration. However, experts believe that many of the contracts may not be legally valid once Maduro is kicked out since they were not signed with approval from the National Assembly. This is the reason why China is desperate to keep Maduro in power.
There are also rumors that representatives of Guaidó are in talks with the Chinese in Washington to resolve the loan issue. Though the CCP has publicly denied holding such meetings, it is very likely that Beijing might consider siding with Guaidó if it seems certain that Maduro will lose power in Venezuela.