TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese social media blew up on the news of Meng Wanzhou’s (孟晚舟) return from Canada, becoming the top trending topic with related hashtags generating 1.5 billion views on Saturday (Sept. 25).
Chinese state media set the tone for the viral blitz by pushing hashtags and sharing patriotic posts that Meng had made in the air as she crossed the Arctic on her way home, according to a report by What's on Weibo.
“Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, our motherland is becoming glorious and flourishing,” said Meng, who is the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei. “Without a strong motherland, I would not have had my freedom today.”
Among the sea of tagged posts was a graphic that showed Meng being airlifted to safety by a Chinese helicopter just as a grotesque star-spangled shark monster was about to swallow her whole.
Graphic of American shark monster. (Weibo, Wuheqilin image)
The shark monster — meant to represent the U.S. — has a glowing dollar sign like the photophore the deep-sea anglerfish uses to lure its prey. This supposedly infers that American capitalism is a trap for Chinese citizens like Meng.
The graphic, titled “Return Vessel” ((歸舟), was created by digital artist Wuheqilin (乌合麒麟), who has over 3 million fans on Weibo.
The artist has posted a large number of ultra-nationalist propaganda graphics. Among those pinned to the top of his feed is a manipulated image of an Australian soldier which was tweeted out by Chinese wolf warrior diplomat Li Zhaojian (趙立堅) and led to a diplomatic spat between Australia and China last year.