By Jean Cao
Hugo Chavez greets Xi Jinping in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2009.
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was greeted with much sadness in China. Venezuela under Chavez became Latin America’s largest recipient of Chinese investment, and the two countries on the 2008 space satellite Venesat-1. In 2009, then vice president, Xi Jinping visited Venezuela where Chavez told him “All the oil that China needs for its development in the next 200 years is here in Venezuela.” Xinhua ran a lengthy special feature on the former revolutionary, and Chinese leaders paid their respects.
Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping have expressed deep condolences on the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday.
“President Chavez was an outstanding leader of Venezuela and a good friend of the Chinese people,” Hua said, adding that Chavez made significant contributions to advancing the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Venezuela.
The CPC, the Chinese government and people highly treasure the time-honored friendship between the two countries, according to the spokeswoman.
Chavez’s death sparked a heated discussion on China’s largest microblogging platform, Sina Weibo. Some netizens saw Chavez as a national hero and friend to China, while others criticized him as a dictator and liar.
Columnist Daixu (戴旭):
Hugo Chavez’s feelings towards China were sincere. He was a true comrade-in-arms to the Chinese people. He was supported by his people, as well as the Chinese people. I hope there will be another Chavez in Venezuela.
Chief Editor of the Global Times Hu Xijin (胡锡进):
Hugo Chavez’s death is being heatedly discussed by the world. He was a member of the anti-American group, often scolding America harshly. He was the core character in Latin American to fight against America’s controls. In Venezuela, he represented the victory of populism. He gave oil revenues to the poor. The public supported him and overcame the plot aiming to overthrow him. The word is too complicated, so that it is hard to summarize this hero by one label. He was a good friend to the Chinese people. Farewell.
Media commentator Song Zude (宋祖德):
Chavez’s death is not bad news. Chavez, who was touted as a hero by Chinese media, died. Our Communist Party lost a good friend. Chavez was a semi-dictator. If he hadn’t died, he might have held power until 80 or 90 years old. He should have resigned from the position of president after being informed of the cancer, not longing for the cure. This is an example of his irresponsibility.
Media commentator 假装在纽约:
Chavez had arrogated all power for himself for 14 years, being a person who did not want to give rights up until he died. During the last two years of his battle with cancer, he insisted on holding TV cabinet meetings, and made policy via his assistance in spite of pain to breathe and speak. He considered himself a saviour of Venezuela during his reign, fighting against America with Castro. He changed the national name, national flag and national emblem, and even set back the national time half an hour, creating an exclusive time zone for Venezuela.
Chavez has gone. Some of you criticised him, but Venezuelan people missed him. Because in recent ten years, the Venezuela’s stock market increased by 5,700%! How about your country? Are you qualified to criticize?
Scholar and columnist Mei Yuxin梅育新:
Mourn the president Hugo Chavez! He is an honoured leader who died in the last ditch to improve the domestic income distribution and promote Venezuela’s role in global benefit distribution. He is not flawless, and some of his policies should be modified. But the extreme opposition and external powers cut down his range of choices. The imperfect solider is still a solider. The percent fly is still a fly.
In his lifetime, Chavez often expressed open admiration for Mao Zedong. When visiting Beijing in 2008, he said: “We are in the land of Mao Zedong and I pay tribute to him. I am a Maoist.”
Additional reporting by James Griffiths