BEIJING, May 9, Global Times - Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg found herself in hot water on Chinese social media as she was mocked by netizens as being a "double-standard, selective environmentalist" and "puppet of Western politicians" after she targeted China on its annual emissions but made no comments on Japan's decision to dump nuclear-contaminated water.
On May 6 and 7 local time, many Western media outlets - including the BBC, CNN and CNBC - hyped China's impact on the climate, citing data from the Rhodium Group, a research provider, which claimed that China's annual emissions surpass those of all developed nations combined.
Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who skipped school for so-called climate protests and is portrayed as an environmentalist in the West, retweeted the report by CNN, blaming the climate crisis on China.
"Yes, China is still categorized as a developing nation by WTO, they manufacture a lot of our products and so on. But that's of course no excuse for ruining future and present living conditions. We can't solve the climate crisis unless China drastically changes course," she tweeted.
Thunberg's comment soon faced a huge backlash on Chinese social media as floods of netizens criticized her "hypocrisy," and claimed she was a "double-standard" and "selective environmental activist." Many also said she is a "puppet" of Western politicians.
The related topic had been viewed about 6.4 million times on China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo as of press time.
Famous Chinese cartoonist Wuheqilin commented on Weibo on Sunday, pointing out that so-called global environmental protection organizations and individuals, which turned a blind eye to Japan's decision to dump nuclear wastewater while accusing China over environmental issues, merely served as "political tools" targeting China. "Just take it as a fart."
After Japan decided to dump Fukushima wastewater into the sea on April 13, Thunberg only retweeted the decision without any comment, like most Western media, in contrast with her public image of being very sharp-tongued on environmental protection issues.
However, after Western media outlets hyped China's annual emissions, Thunberg immediately reacted, saying that China needs to change.
It is an old trick for the Western media and activists to point fingers at China on climate and environmental issues, said an observer online. Unexpectedly, even in 2021, the media outlets are still "only judging the total quantity of emissions, not talking about the per capita" figures, the observer pointed out.
Per capita emissions in China have remained considerably lower than those in the developed world, according to the new report from the Rhodium Group.
Many netizens cited Ding Zhongli, a vice chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress and former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who said years ago that "I want to ask: Are Chinese humans? That's a fundamental question," noting that "I see the right to emit as a right to development, which is a basic human right." Ding added that there should be a roughly equal amount of emissions per capita, which is fair.
Netizens said Ding's remarks are still enlightening.
A netizen criticized Thunberg, saying that "The teenager does not study hard to improve her cognitive level and personal quality but engages in meaningless political activities. She is completely ruined."
"The West has been high on creating 'public opinion leaders' like Thunberg who don't know much and are easy to control, and such people have a much better image in Western society than politicians," said another netizen, adding that "opinion leaders" always turned out to be jokes.