New Delhi: China’s Cultural Counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, Zhang Heqing, sparked a row Sunday after he tweeted a video of a Chinese woman belly dancing, with a caption that read, “Off your hijab, let me see your eyes. #Xinjiang dance”.
The official subsequently deleted the tweet following the backlash.
Twitter users claimed the video was portraying an “Uyghur Muslim woman” without the traditional head covering.
China has faced mounting criticism from across the world, including claims of genocide, over its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim population in the north-western region of Xinjiang.
Several Twitter users in Pakistan took offence at the post as they claimed it hurt religious sentiments, and demanded an apology from the Chinese official.
“As a muslim and Pakistani i found these words so offensive, Hijab is a sacred thing for us,” said user Muhammad Anas.
As a muslim and Pakistani i found these words so offensive, Hijab is a sacred thing for us.
— Muhammad Anas 🇵🇰 (@anasinqilabi) March 7, 2021
“This is an awful statement but if the Chinese go on like with these Islamophobic statements, then Pak-China relations will not end on good terms (sic)” said another user.
This is an awful statement.
But If Chinese goes on like these Islamophobic statements than Pak-China relation will not end on good terms…
But we must realise that stupid people like him are there who want to create misunderstandings.
Better to reports him to Chinese government
— کھوجی (@Gladiiattor) March 7, 2021
Pakistan ‘not yet a colony of Xi’
Many users suggested this could strain ties between Islamabad and Beijing.
Ansar Abbasi, Pakistani columnist associated with The News International, tweeted: “Hope he [Zhang] is not here to dent Pak-Chinese Friendship.”
Knowing well that “hijab” is a sensitive issue for Muslims, Chinese Counsellor still tweeted this 👇. Hope he is not here to dent Pak-Chinese Friendship. https://t.co/9TeoRuyI9Z
— Ansar Abbasi (@AnsarAAbbasi) March 7, 2021
Pakistani journalist Naila Inayat commented: “If you ask Pakistan govt about Uyghurs they’ll tell you: Frankly, we don’t know much about it.”
“Off your hijab”, cultural counselor of Chinese embassy to Pakistan, tweets a video of ‘unveiled’ Chinese woman dancing. After backlash, deletes it.
If you ask Pakistan govt about Uyghurs they’ll tell you: Frankly, we don’t know much about it. pic.twitter.com/W73NlX7UkU
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) March 7, 2021
Meanwhile, BBC Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent Secunder Kermani said the diplomat is “really testing the limits of Pakistan’s close alliance with China”.
Geopolitical and security analyst Naveed Ahmad also hit out at the official for blocking “journalists as well as common citizens questioning the content and intent of his tweet”, and added that Pakistan is “not yet a colony of Xi”.
#China’s diplomacy at its best. @Zhang_heqing blocks journalists as well as common citizens questioning the content and intent of his tweet. #Pakistan’s not yet a colony of Xi. #FriensNotMasters https://t.co/GD4yGeeJIq
— Naveed Ahmad نوید (@naveed360) March 7, 2021
Ahmad was referring to WION’s Pakistan Bureau Chief Anas Mallick who claimed the Chinese official blocked him on Twitter. “Ah well, Chinese Diplomat @zhang_heqing has blocked me on twitter after I pointed out his derogatory tweet on Hijab. He quietly deleted it without any apology – Guess he couldn’t take somebody showing him the mirror, rightly following the footsteps of Beijing of muzzling voices,” said Mallick.
Ah well, Chinese Diplomat @zhang_heqing has blocked me on twitter after I pointed out his derogatory tweet on Hijab. He quietly deleted it without any apology – Guess he couldn’t take somebody showing him the mirror, rightly following the footsteps of Beijing of muzzling voices https://t.co/8E6FHTWcVr pic.twitter.com/oa0S0IOBl9
— Anas Mallick (@AnasMallick) March 7, 2021
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mazumdar)
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