On August 23, the Consul General of China in Belfast, Zhang Meifang, took to Twitter, but not to discuss developing better relations with Northern Ireland.
Instead, her attention was on the other side of the Atlantic: she attacked “American aggression.”
Zhang tweeted a supposed timeline of conflicts involving the United States, starting with the American War of Independence (1775-1783) and ending with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Her accompanying message:
“The history of American aggression in a snapshot! And this does not even include proxy wars, regime changes and other acts that destabilize regions, nations and peoples.”
“Begs the question: will a nation that romances war ever know peace? Or allow for it? #US #war.”
Problem is, Zhang lists the United States as aggressor in wars it clearly did not start. (Forget that the country didn’t exist when colonies rose up against Britain.)
Most notably (and bafflingly), Zhang accused the United States of being the aggressor in World War II against Imperial Japan.
Imperial Japan, of course, had launched a war of aggression against China years before the United States entered the war. The United States only declared war on Japan after the December 7, 1941, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, in which more than 2,400 Americans died.
Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the United States into an alliance with China. The United States had provided China military aid prior to Pearl Harbor and established the American Military Mission to China in July 1941 to provide aid and advice.
One week prior to Zhang’s tweet, China marked the 77th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, in which Chinese state media urged Japan to “face up to the historical facts of its aggression.”
Zhang also accused the United States of being the aggressor against Germany in World War I.
Although the causes of World War I are complex and numerous, the United States was not an instigator. When war broke out in July 1914, the United States, pursuing a policy of neutrality, sat on the sidelines for nearly three years.
The U.S. decision to finally declare war on Germany in April 1917 came after repeated German submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships.
Likewise, while Zhang called the United States the aggressor in the Korean War, that conflict, as Polygraph.info previously reported, started when Soviet-backed North Korea launched a full-scale invasion of the south on June 25, 1950. Roughly 75,000 North Korean People’s Army soldiers marched across the 38th parallel boundary that divided the Koreas.
The day Pyongyang launched its attack, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 82, calling on North Korea to cease hostilities and withdraw. North Korea ignored that, prompting the council to pass resolutions asking U.N. members to help “repel the attack and restore peace.”
As for the American Civil War, the separatist, pro-slavery Confederate States of America launched the first attack by firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in April 1861.
Zhang’s tweet remained online for roughly two days before being deleted. Polygraph.info reached out to the China’s Consulate General in Belfast to ask why the tweet had been deleted but had not heard back at the time of publication.
Zhang’s tweet fits into a broader pattern of so-called “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, in which Chinese diplomats use social media to aggressively counter criticism of the Chinese Communist Party and spread anti-Western disinformation.
False or misleading information about COVID-19, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province, along with general anti-American sentiment, are regular talking points for Chinese diplomats on Twitter.
Those attacks are often delivered as crudely conceived memes.
For example, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhou tweeted a photo montage insinuating that the United States carried out the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of New York City's World Trade Center.
Zhou has previously spread the repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory that the United States Army may have introduced COVID-19 to China.
On August 25, Zhang shared a cartoon of a monster with Monkeypox written on its arm. The monster is punching through a brick wall with a cross on top, grabbing Uncle Sam. The message behind the image is unclear.
One Twitter user commented: “Didn’t know the sole task of a Chinese consul general was to spread anti western propaganda all day every day.”
Zhang has tweeted nearly 28,000 times since joining Twitter in January 2020, very rarely about Northern Irish affairs.
The Associated Press reported in May 2021 that “China’s rise on Twitter has been powered by an army of fake accounts that have retweeted Chinese diplomats and state media tens of thousands of times, covertly amplifying propaganda that can reach hundreds of millions of people.”
In 2019, Twitter suspended 200,000 accounts that were part of a Chinese-state-backed disinformation operation. Twitter routinely removes or suspends networks of accounts spreading Chinese propaganda.
Large networks of Chinese propaganda accounts continue to be discovered and suspended.