The projection of China’s flag for Chinese New Year on the Azadi monument in Tehran has irked hundreds of Iranian social media users.

Both Iranian and Chinese flags were beamed onto the well-known landmark for several hours during a ceremony Sunday attended by the Chinese ambassador. Tehran municipality officials said the ‘video-mapping’ had been proposed by the Iran-China Friendship Association.

Foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian posted a photo of the event on Twitter Sunday evening, offering good wishes to the Chinese government and people for New Year and over hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics. “We will implement the comprehensive cooperation plan between the two countries with vigorous energy, so that the second 50-year-old Iran-China relationship will be even more powerful!” Amir-Abdollahian wrote in his tweet.

But the display of the Chinese flag was too much for some social media activists who detected a sign of “concessions” to Beijing and “Iran’s colonialization by China.”

“God on the same level as the Communist stars?” one Twitteratus opined. “Do you know what you are doing Mr. Abdollahian? Haven’t you seen the Iranian people’s reaction? Or maybe it’s more important to keep the Chinese happy rather than us people…?”

Twitterati left angry comments under Amir-Abdollahian’s post, with one using the hashtag No-to-Chinese-Globalism and evoking the 1979 slogan “Neither West, Nor East.”

“You have dressed the symbol of Iranian’s freedom and independence in the flag of a foreign power and felicitate them on colonizing you. Happy anniversary of the Revolution!” another angry comment read.

While some Iranians take umbrage at Iran’s efforts to expand relations with China, and especially at the 25-year cooperation pact agreed in March, China’s regional role is growing fast.

The New York Times noted Tuesday that “in January alone, five senior officials from oil-rich Arab monarchies visited China,” and suggested that for a range of Middle Eastern countries “China promises to be a long-term buyer of oil and gas and a potential source of investment, without the political complications involved in doing business with the United States.”

Some Twitterati defended the display of the Chinese flag, noting that video-mapping national monuments with other countries’ flags or symbols on suitable occasions was done widely around the world. One posted a photo of video-mapping of the Eiffel Tower in Paris in tribute to 16 Iranian firefighters who lost their lives in incident in Tehran in 2018.

The Islamic Republic’s expanding relations and long-term partnership with China has stirred much controversy among Iranians, particularly since March 2021 when Iran and China signed a 25-year cooperation pact.

Built in 1971, the Azadi monument was originally named Shahyad (the Shah’s Monument) but renamed after the ruler was toppled by the 1979 Revolution.

Source » iranintl