Chinese netizens pay tribute to Henry Kissinger, mourning not only the man but also what he represented in US diplomacy
The Chinese internet was shaken by the news of Henry Kissinger’s death at the age of 100. Within hours, discussions about the former US diplomat surged to the top of Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, with a combined view count of 660 million. On platforms like Xiaohongshu, Chinese commentators expressed their admiration for Kissinger through glowing tributes. The Chinese sentiment towards Kissinger’s passing reflects a deeper appreciation for his role in fostering mutual benefit and opening the path to prosperity between the US and China.
1: A Symbolic Mourning
Chinese netizens drew parallels between Kissinger’s death and the ancient Chinese warlord Cao Cao’s lamentation for his rival, Guan Yu. Cao Cao’s respect for his adversary resonates with how China has traditionally viewed Kissinger – as a powerful servant of a rival superpower who facilitated a relationship of mutual advantage. Kissinger’s frequent visits to China, numbering over 100, have cemented his reputation as an American heavyweight diplomat who prioritized wisdom and compromise.
2: End of an Era
Chinese leader Xi Jinping referred to Kissinger as an “old friend of the Chinese people” during the diplomat’s visit to China in July. With Kissinger’s passing, and that of Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger, Chinese netizens perceive the end of an era in the United States. While tributes for both men have flooded Weibo, Kissinger, despite his controversial reputation elsewhere, has received the lion’s share of attention. He is seen as an icon who played a pivotal role in fostering Sino-US relations and bringing prosperity and modernity to China.
3: A Fading Epoch of Heroes
The longevity of both Kissinger and Munger’s lives has been widely admired and discussed on Weibo. Netizens lamented the passing of an era when heroes like Kissinger emerged. The phrase “old friends are dying, like leaves in the wind” evokes the grieving of an aging Cao Cao over a bygone epoch of heroes, reminiscent of the legendary rise to power of rival warlords in ancient China. Kissinger, similarly, represents a time when the US embraced China’s growth rather than seeking to curb its potential dominance.
The death of Henry Kissinger has captivated the Chinese internet, with discussions on various platforms reflecting a deep appreciation for his role in US-China relations. Chinese netizens mourn not only the loss of the man but also the end of an era characterized by mutual benefit and cooperation. Kissinger’s legacy as a symbol of US diplomacy in China will continue to shape the way the Chinese people view the relationship between the two nations.