China this week warned the Brazilian House of Representatives not to congratulate President Tsai Ing-wen over her inauguration.
On May 26th, a new hashtag #VivaTaiwan was trending worldwide on Twitter.
The hashtag, which suggests “congrats to Taiwan,” was invented and retweeted wholesale by Brazilian Twitter users after a Brazilian congressman leaked a diplomatic communication issued by the Chinese Embassy in Brazil.
Paulo Eduardo Martins, the congressman in question took to his Twitter account tweeting “In this letter, the totalitarian Chinese government told Brazilian House of Representatives and its congresspeople to remain silent about Taiwan’s presidential inauguration,” adding, “but… I’ll still do it even though China doesn’t allow us to.”
“I would like to pay my tribute to president Tsai Ing-wen.” Martins continued, “Congratulations on your re-election, President Tsai.”
In the document, China reiterates and stresses the importance of Beijing’s one-China principle, suggesting China-Brazilian relations should never be spoiled by violating this supposedly international consensus.
At the end of the third paragraph in the letter the text says Brazil’s “House of Representatives (should) avoid gestures or attitudes that could be prejudicial to the principle of one-China, like participating (in) the referred inauguration, sending messages of support to Taiwan authorities, or maintaining official contacts with them.”
Following the disclosure, the Brazilian people took to the Internet actively participating in the retweeting of the hashtag #VivaTaiwan, in a demonstration of their own support for the Taiwanese authorities and, more importantly, to show that they do not want their freedom of thought and freedom of speech limited by missives from China.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded online tweeting “Thank you @PauloMartins10 for congratulating @iingwen on her #Taiwan520 inauguration.”
In the tweet, the ministry showed appreciation of Brazil’s support, and its friendship towards Taiwan.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen also chimed in, expressing her gratitude for Brazilians’ kind congratulations. Tsai also put the hashtag #VivaTaiwan at the end of her tweet.
As the ongoing feud between Brazil and China continues, China fought back through the Global Times, a China-based official newspaper.
“Recently, some Brazilian politicians have attacked and smeared China on the COVID-19 pandemic. Tsai’s inauguration was just the latest issue they have tried to make use of to shift Brazilian people’s attention from the rapidly worsening epidemic in the country,” Wu Hong-ying, the director of the LatAm office of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the publication.
Yang Wan-ming, Chinese ambassador to Brazil, pointed out that the Brazilian government has found it hard to control the pandemic, and that Brazilian politicians have continued to blame China for the outbreak in order to distract people’s attention from the government’s own virus prevention policy.
He also indicated that China has donated a large amount of medical supplies to Brazil, emphasizing the fact that China has always been a supportive friend of Brazil, and has been willing to help them overcome the pandemic.
As the Global Times suggests, consolidating China-Brazil cooperation and relations through abiding by the one-China principle is a basic premise that should never be challenged and shaken.
But it has been.