The Chinese outrage at Trump's climate decision

By BBC Trending
Going in-depth on social media

  • Published
Thousands of Weibo users have been commenting on Trump's exit from the Paris agreementImage source, TMZ, Sina Weibo
Image caption,
Thousands of Weibo users have been commenting on Trump's exit from the Paris agreement

The US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is a huge talking point around the world, and it's particularly dominating Chinese social media.

Millions of social media users are reading about the decision to exit the international agreement, and discussing the impact on China.

On microblog site Sina Weibo, one of the most popular hashtags has been "US withdraws from Paris climate agreement".

One of the most viral images is one that first appeared on the gossip site TMZ. It's a meme based on a controversial comic's photo shoot where she was shown holding a fake severed head meant to look like President Trump.

In the version circulating on Weibo, however, it's Trump holding the head - which has been altered to resemble a bleeding globe.

The striking image has contributed to more than two million users reading posts about the US withdrawing from the agreement, and has prompted widespread online discussion.

Image source, CCTV News/Sina Weibo
Image caption,
CCTV, the state-owned broadcaster, pointed out that the Paris accord is the second international agreement Trump has exited in recent months

'Short-sighted' and 'selfish'

Many Chinese have some regard for Trump as a pragmatist and a businessman. But many are also passionate about environmental issues as a result of the country's rapid industrialisation and chronic air pollution, and hint that Trump's U-turn will set the tide of Chinese public opinion against him.

Thousands reacted angrily to a post by official broadcaster CCTV which stated that "this is Trump's second major exit after withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement" back in January.

User "atspetro" said Trump had become "like a clown… with no credibility."

Another user, "Maizhen Keji", calls Trump "short-sighted" and "selfish" and says that public opinion towards his withdrawal from the agreement can be summed up with a Chinese proverb: "shuineng zaizhou": "not only can water float a boat, it can also sink it."

In other words, people (the water) can raise a politician (the boat) to power, but they can also destroy a leader's reputation.

Image source, Francois Lenoir/AFP
Image caption,
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) said at the EU-China Summit that China aims to fill the void left by the US

'Good news for China'

Many online are also saying that they feel it is now time for China to take the lead on tackling climate change.

User "kisschick" says: "Trump's ignorant and reckless decision to exist the Paris Climate agreement will give greater powers to our country over the next decade." Another said that Trump giving up the Paris agreement meant that he would "lose a wide range of opportunities, as well as diplomatic influence, t China."

And "Dija Shuaige Pifa" added that the US's exit from the agreement "is really good news for China, as the world will get to see the goodwill of China," pointing out that the country is the world's leading investor in renewable energy.

Image source, Sina Weibo
Image caption,
Many Chinese users argued that the decision would cause Trump to lose opportunities and diplomatic influence

Blog by Kerry Allen, BBC Monitoring

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