Chinese flags at half-mast for Cambodia’s former king Norodam Sihanouk anger netizens
October 17, 2012Jing Gao2 Commentscambodia, chinese people's long-time friends, despots, dictators, dictatorship, Diplomacy, foreign relations, gaddafi, khmer rouge, mourning, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Norodom Sihanouk
Chinese flags on a number of landmarks in Beijing, including Tiananmen Square, Xinhua Gate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Beijing’s airports, will be flown at half-mast all day Tuesday, as the body of former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk, who died of a heart attack at 90 in the city last week, is scheduled to be returned to his native land.
Norodom Sihanouk has long been officially recognized in China as “Chinese people’s long-time friends,” a term widely misunderstood by ordinary Chinese people to be applied solely to Communist dictators or heads of states that are Beijing’s allies, when in fact Chinese government did use the term on politicians in democratic countries like Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon who have worked to defrost or enhance relations with China. Other “Chinese people’s long-time friends” that fit this misconception include Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaușescu and Kim Jong-il.
Sihanouk with Mao Zedong and then premier Zhou Enlai on Tiananmen Gate in 1970
Sihanouk with former Chines president Jiang Zemin
Sihanouk, in the eyes of the Chinese general public, was a dictator, for he befriended Beijing at a time when China was so isolated and so messed up that only despots in the Third World would want to be associated with it. Those who were born in before the 80s must also have been too familiar with the fact that Sihanouk was well accommodated in Beijing both as an exiled king following a coup in the 1970s and after his abdication in 2004.
Even during his rule, he often flew to Beijing for treatment of his illness, with almost every expense paid for by Beijing. A news story published in state-run media even states that back in 1973, in preparation for a state-banquet hosted by then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai for him, a restaurant in Shanghai killed 208 chickens to collect chicken eggs needed for a single dish. Those who are particularly knowledgeable and well-informed also know that the former king once gave in to the Khmer Rouge, which was responsible for the mass killing of millions of Cambodians.
Therefore, when the news came that Beijing flies flags at half-mast for him, many Chinese on the web were immediately angered. One post on Sina Weibo, a microblogging site that boasts hundreds of millions of users, accuses Chinese government of the gesture. Within three hours, it had been forwarded 11,802 times.
[National mourning] For the bullet train crash in Wenzhou, no flag was flown at half-mast; for the school bus accident, no flag was flown at half-mast; for the July 21 Beijing rainstorm, no flag was flown at half-mast; for the landslide in Yunnan, no flag was flown at half-mast; for the fatal car accident during the Golden Week, no flag was flown at half-mast; for the fisherman shot to death by South Korean coast guard, no flag was flown at half-mast. Today, after the death of a Cambodian good-for-nothing old guy, who had freeloaded off us taxpayers for decades, you immediately flew the flag at half-mast. You guys make people’s hearts chill!
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the most hard-hitting and acrimonious comments it has generated:
越界影视：It is learned that those who made the original list for the half-mast-worthy included Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaușescu. But those were canceled for some reason.
何胁社会：F**k your ancestors. So often Chinese people are killed for no good reason, and you fly the flag at half-mast for an old hooligan who cheated for free food and drink? Damn, so it wasn’t enough that he was fed for decades? Having been born in this country is a huge shame and joke.
arr10：The ship collision in Hong Kong killed more than 30; both the Hong Kong government and PRC’s Liaison office in Hong Kong flew the flag at half-mast. The bus accident on the highway in the mainland burnt also more than 30, the government did not even give a shit. So it seems the mainland and China are still different…
Cyn-C：If China were truly to fly the flag for deaths of the ordinary people, then the flag would not possibly be hoisted back.
卢会长：So the face shown to the outside is more important than the face shown to the inside.
牙医哥隋强：I wonder what he had done for the Chinese people.
colvern：In addition to a freeloader, he was also a womanizer.
sinesoft：Yesterday, a pig died in our village. These flags must have been flown for that.
杜楠爆料：A Cambodian King died. Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is an immense loss of the Chinese people. What have I lost? What have you lost? Where did this even come from?
无畏上将高尔察克: One budget item has been lost when they write budget requests.