Joshua Wong, a student activist in Hong Kong, raised the most real question: “How do you update your Facebook in China?”
Zuckerberg, of course, is married to a woman whose parents were Chinese refugees, and he has spent a lot of time learning Mandarin, but so far that hasn’t worked to open the markets for him. He has been sucking up to the Chinese government for a while now. Last year, he and wife Priscilla Chan, then expecting their first child, attended a state dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zuckerberg asked the leader to give his unborn baby an honorary Chinese name, Page Six reported. Xi declined. But it shows how desperately Zuckerberg wants access to China’s 600 million Internet users.
While on this trip, Zuck hasn’t rocked the China boat at all. There’s been no mention made of human rights violations, cyber attacks or the funding of terrorism through tech transfers. And China’s censors this week as to urge citizens to stop the spread of “malicious” comments about Zuckerberg, noted China’s Digital Times.
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It all has not gone unnoticed, as Zuckerberg has garnered comment after comment, calling him out.
“I know business and human rights are never discussed together but perhaps you can be the first to change that. Next time ask the Chinese leaders about the plight of the Tibetans and the systemic cultural genocide that’s taking place every day and thousands of political prisoners who disappear, never to be seen or heard from again,” wrote Choni Yangzom.
“Mark can you please bring up the subject of step mothers beating and torturing the little girls in their care? I have already emailed the Chinese President about it,” wrote Maureen Lafferty.
Elsewhere on social media, some have shared a picture that began circulating of Zuckerberg in 2014 and talking about his “China Dream” after he spoke of his affection for Xi Jinping’s book, “The Governance of China.” The image shows Zuckerberg in army clothing, holding a copy of the book.
“Zuckerberg wants to connect with the world’s 5 billion internet users, but must first break the GFW,” says Xu Shengxiang, referring to China’s “Great Firewall” system of censorship.
Zuckerberg spent the weekend meeting with Chinese businessmen, including Liu Yunshan, China’s propaganda chief. Liu, according to The Washington Post, told Zuckerberg he hopes Facebook can share its experiences with Chinese companies to help “Internet development better benefit the people of all countries.”
According to Xinhua, that flagship news service of the Communist Party, Zuckerberg praised China’s progress on the Internet and said he hoped to work with China to “create a better world in cyberspace.”
Some social media users have been bold about the Zuckerberg visit, noted the BBC. “When I see Zuckerberg running in the haze, what do I think?” one said. “Feisibuke,” which is the Chinese phonetic translation for “Facebook.” But Feisibuke’s characters in Chinese mean “doomed to die.”