Almost all countries of the world condemned Russia after it launched a humanitarian special operation in Ukraine. However, this is not the case in China: since February 24, the number of Chinese social media posts lauding the Russian president as a model of male attractiveness and calling him “handsome” and “charming” has only multiplied, according to Business Insider.
Users and female users write about how they want to personally meet Putin or marry him, call him macho, iron man or tiehan - this is a Chinese word used to describe strong and unyielding men. Characteristic remark: “Recently, I fell in love with a 70-year-old man. God, he's really handsome! His name is Putin".
According to experts, this trend has several explanations. First, China not only allows, but welcomes pro-Russian sentiments. While the whole world calls Russia's special operation in Ukraine an invasion, in China, any criticism of a neighboring country is by default prohibited. Secondly, the image of the supermacho supported by the Russian president is seen by the Chinese as a demonstration of strength and power directed against the West, with which they stand in solidarity. “Since the 2000s, China has been working hard to become a superpower, and with the rise of Xi Jinping, cultivating a strong image has become more important than ever,” explains historian Angelina Chin of Pomona College. - Putin, for his part, has been demonstrating his qualities as an alpha male all this time. He has become the idol of many women in China because he comes across as a leader who is able to set the country on the right path”.
Famous photos of Putin, in which he rides half-naked, goes spearfishing or bathes in the icy Siberian rivers, perfectly meet this need for a strong man, and along with the party line. Last year, China's Ministry of Education told schools to reform their physical education classes to combat the "feminization" of boys. The directive comes just months after Xi Jinping called for measures to stop young men from growing up "gentle, timid and feminine." A little later, the authorities banned broadcasters from showing content promoting "sissies and other abnormal aesthetics".
Sociologist Liu Wen of the Taipei Institute of Ethnology believes that Putin's popularity plays into the hands of the Chinese communist leadership, helping to maintain their own power: “Gender diversity is not only aesthetically alien to the Chinese state. It is a threat to national security because it promotes the development of alternative subcultures that can break the fragile facade of national unity. In addition, in times of crisis, people do not want complexity, they are closer to a simple and uncritical attitude towards their nation”.