On WeChat, the comments section for a short video about a military exercise became a board for dissatisfied people to whine. Among thousands of comments, a few Communist Party members said they would like to quit out of shame. A military veteran said he would probably never mention his army experience again. “Too angry to fall asleep,” commented a user with the handle @xiongai.
The comments section was later closed.
Many users seemed especially disappointed with the foreign ministry. “When China said ‘strongly condemn’ and ‘solemnly declare’, it was only for the purpose of amusing ordinary folks like us,” wrote a Weibo user with the handle @shizhendemaolulu, referring to the language that foreign ministry spokespersons used about Ms. Pelosi’s visit.
“So tough when it comes to domestic governance and so cowardly in foreign affairs,” the user wrote. “Utterly disappointed!”
On Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, responded to a question about the public’s disappointment by saying that she believed the Chinese people were rational patriots and that they had confidence in their country and their government.
The Chinese Communist Party has used nationalism as a governing tool since the Mao era. Xi Jinping, China’s current paramount leader, took it to a new level. “Nationalism is becoming a core pillar of both the party’s and Xi’s personal political legitimacy,” Kevin Rudd, the chief executive of the Asia Society and a former prime minister of Australia, wrote in his book “The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict Between the U.S. and Xi Jinping’s China.”