Tsavkko Garcia, Raphael
Publication year: 2020

President Tsai Ing-wen’s public expression of gratitude to “all of our friends in Brazil,” responding to the trending #VivaTaiwan on Twitter in Brazil, may appear to be a benign gesture.

But from a Brazilian perspective, the thanks struck a very different note. Far from a grassroots movement of solidarity with Taiwan, the #VivaTaiwan slogan arose from President Jair Bolsonaro’s orbit.

The pro-Taiwan tweeting in Brazil originated with an incident involving President Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, also a politician. Eduardo said the Chinese Communist Party was to blame for Covid-19, tweeting, “It’s their fault.” The accusation instigated a minor diplomatic row, leading to a response from the Chinese consul general in Rio de Janeiro.

Many prominent pro-Bolsonaro Twitter accounts soon after added Taiwanese flags to their screen names, displaying them alongside the flags of Brazil, the United States, and Israel — all three being common sights at rallies supporting the far-right president. There have been public calls asking the president to recognize Taiwan as a “friendly people” to Brazilians.

Full article at The News Lens’ website. Date of publication: 11/06/2020.

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