Not all who have criticized the embassy post in China have expressed complete outrage. Some Weibo users said they were more disappointed than angry, adding that the post was deaf rather than deliberately malicious.
“The Weibo message didn’t need to include this line about the dog,” said Susan Chen, a student from southern China’s Guangdong Province, who returned to China last year after starting a masters program in Connecticut. “He could have just said, ‘Spring has come and the flowers are in bloom, come get the visa.’”
A spokesperson for the embassy said Thursday that the United States has the utmost respect for all Chinese people and that the social media post was meant to be “light and humorous.” The spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anonymity under embassy rules, said staff members resigned from the post as soon as it became clear that many Chinese saw the message differently.
The episode further illustrates how relations between the United States and China have deteriorated due to tariffs, human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region, and a technological cold war, among others. Travel between the two counties has been largely frozen by strict visa controls, a result of both Covid-19 protocols and soured relations. Even attempts to restore diplomatic normality have been arduous.
There are also potential financial implications for the education sector in the United States.
About one million international students enroll in American universities each year. More than a third were from China in the 2019-2020 academic year, according to data compiled by the Institute of International Education.
But experts say universities in the United States and other English-speaking countries could lose billions of dollars in the years to come due to travel restrictions and the anger of Chinese students and parents over what they are doing. consider it a permissive attitude towards public health during the pandemic.