BEIJING (Reuters) — Many Chinese are venting their frustration at the slowing economy and the weak stock market in an unconventional place: the social media account of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
A post on Friday on protecting wild giraffes by the U.S. embassy on Weibo, a Chinese platform similar to X (formerly Twitter), has attracted 130,000 comments and 15,000 reposts as of Sunday (Feb. 4) many of them unrelated to wildlife conservation.
“Could you spare us some missiles to bomb away the Shanghai Stock Exchange?” one user wrote in an repost of the article.
A ‘Wailing Wall of Chinese retail equity investors’
The Weibo account of the U.S. embassy in China “has become the Wailing Wall of Chinese retail equity investors”, another user wrote.
The U.S. embassy did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
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While Weibo users can publish individual posts about the market and the economy, Chinese authorities regularly block what they view as “negative” online comments when they gain traction.
The comments function on posts related to the economy or the markets on social media platforms can also be turned off, or only show selected comments, restricting channels in which people can express their opinions.’
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China’s blue-chip CSI300 Index tumbled 6.3 percent last month, plumbing five-year lows, after a raft of government support measures failed to prop up confidence dented by multiple economic headwinds, including a multi-year property slump, tepid domestic consumption and deflationary pressures.
In late January, state media reported that China will take more “forceful” measures to support market confidence after a cabinet meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang.
Chinese authorities have since ramped up efforts to calm investors, sending out positive messages that sometimes produce the opposite effect.
On Friday, Feb. 2, the official People’s Daily published an article with the headline: “The entire country is filled with optimism.”
The headline was soon mocked on Chinese social media.
A Weibo user, in an repost of the U.S. embassy’s giraffe protection article, wrote: “The entire giraffe community is filled with optimism.”
Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; editing by Miral Fahmy.