Two Chinese state media called for netizens to “renovate” the White House in response to the United States passing a law supportive of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement—only to mistake the U.S. Congress for the White House.
On Dec. 4, the countrys state broadcaster CCTV and Party mouthpiece Peoples Daily Overseas both posted on Facebook an image with the following words: “The United States passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Youre welcome to come renovate the White House.”
The image showed the U.S. capitol building engulfed in flames, and surrounded by men sporting black shirts and yellow helmets—the signature attire of Hong Kong demonstrators—smashing and throwing rocks at the building.
The posts were swiftly removed, but not before netizens spotted the mix-up.
Joshua Wong, leader of Hong Kong pro-democracy group Demosisto, posted a screenshot of the CCTV post, together with a side-by-side comparison of the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
Solomon Yue, the national committeeman for the Republican Party of Oregon, took to Twitter to criticize Chinese state media for encouraging violence.
“Cancel Peoples Daily and CCTV reporters [U.S.] visas for inciting vandalism against the White House,” he said.
For nearly six months, Hongkongers have been taking to the streets in a bid to resist the perceived Chinese regimes influence in the city.
Beijing has fiercely criticized Washington for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act which could lead to sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in rights violations in the city.
The Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law last week, would require the U.S. administration to certify every year whether Hong Kong should continue to be granted its special trading privileges with the United States.
On Monday, Chinas Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it would deny the U.S. Navy entry to Hong Kong ports. The regime also imposed unspecified sanctions on multiple U.S. pro-democracy organizations, including Freedom House and Human Rights Watch, saying that they had “played an egregious role in the Hong Kong amendment bill disturbance.”
The Chinese communist regime has routinely taken to western social media as part of its overseas campaign to shape the narrative on the ongoing Hong Kong protests, which it has framed as “rioting” and the work of “terrorists.”
In August, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube—all of which are inaccessible in China—suspended hundreds of accounts tied to a Chinese state-backed disinformation campaign against the demonstrators.
In an Aug. 19 blog post, Twitter closed 936 accounts linked with the Chinese regime which were “deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.”