The post was written in the style of a famous poem by Martin Niemöller, the anti-Nazi German pastor who openly opposed Adolf Hitler and was sent to concentration camps. His poem, First They Came, describes how different sectors of society failed to speak up against the Nazi regime, such that when the secret police eventually came for him, “there was no one left / To speak out for me.”

CCTV’s post, parroting Niemöller’s poem, takes on the voice of Hongkongers who have supposedly remained silent throughout this summer’s protests, and exhorts them to be silent no more because they could be the next to be “attacked” by demonstrators. Groups that have been “attacked,” according to the CCTV poem, include police officers, drivers, airport passengers, and journalists.

“And then they came and attacked me, / And there was no one left to speak for me and protect me,” the poem in the post ends.

Online, academics and journalists were quick to criticize CCTV’s post as “unsurprisingly fatuous,” “bizarre,” and making Niemöller “[turn] around in his grave—for the comparison between an atrocity in which six million people were murdered, and a movement in which there have been no deaths, and that represents a stand against authoritarianism. Hundreds of thousands have marched on the city’s streets peacefully since June, initially to call for the withdrawal of a reviled extradition bill, but protesters are now seeking an inquiry into allegations of police brutality and democratic reforms. Yesterday (Aug. 18) 1.7 million demonstrated, according to organizers.

On the same weekend, CCTV’s global arm struck a very different note of condemnation when it released a rap track in English against Hong Kong’s protesters, criticizing them as “liars” who are backed by “foreign forces.”

“Hey democracy! Once I heard you be found in the Middle East, people were throwing bombs across the city streets,” goes one of the lines in the song by the state-backed rap group, CD Rev. US president Donald Trump is even spliced into the rap, when he is heard saying “Hong Kong is a part of China.”

CCTV also released a Cantonese rap track, calling on listeners to “Say no to riots! Say no bad acts! Say no to evil!”

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.