Beijing, Hong Kong Protests, Hong Kong, Lay Zhang

Beijing, Hong Kong Protests

'All the forces': China's global social media push over Hong Kong protests

'All the forces': China's global social media push over Hong Kong protests

22.8.2019

'All the forces': China's global social media push over Hong Kong protests

Wang Ying has for the last four years identified herself as a diehard fan of Chinese boy band star Lay Zhang . Recently, the 17-year-old also ...

Share via E-Mail Bookmark SHANGHAI: Wang Ying has for the last four years identified herself as a diehard fan of Chinese boy band star Lay Zhang. Recently, the 17-year-old also started describing herself as a patriot who supports China's stance on Hong Kong. The high school student from Shanghai is among the Chinese citizens who in recent weeks have flocked to Western social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to criticise demonstrators in the former British colony. Advertisement Advertisement She is part of a growing offensive emerging from China in recent days aimed at promoting Beijing's narrative about what is happening in Hong Kong to an overseas audience. State media outlets, Chinese celebrities and regular internet users have all banded together behind the effort. READ: Hong Kong protests: Why a student throws bricks at police While little news or video footage of the Hong Kong protests made its way into mainland China in the early weeks, the subject now dominates the news and most-read topic lists on China's Twitter-like Weibo, with calls for Chinese citizens to take action to"protect Hong Kong". Advertisement Advertisement China's government-owned media outlets have flooded Internet platforms both inside and outside the country with stories and images portraying the Hong Kong protests as the work of"terrorists" manipulated by Western powers and"radical forces". They have paid to promote their coverage of Hong Kong on sites including Twitter and Facebook, which are banned on the mainland. The companies said Tuesday that the Chinese government has also mounted a propaganda campaign using fake accounts, thousands of which were taken down in recent days. Police officers fire tear gas as anti-extradition bill protesters demonstrate in Sham Shui Po neighbourhood in Hong Kong, China. (Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/Files) The efforts have unleashed an unusual dynamic in which mainland citizens who are normally subject to strict controls on their online behaviour have been using virtual private networks to bypass the"Great Firewall" and spread anti-protest messages internationally, as well as on Chinese social media sites. "It's only really the hypernationalists that are given free rein, their content isn't censored," said Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) who studies Chinese social media. "They're allowed to conduct campaigns, they're able to organise online ... so that happens in China within the Great Firewall, and then we see also it spill out into the wider Internet," he said. READ: Banks in Hong Kong condemn violence, urge restoration of 'harmony' ​​​​​​​ But analysts say it's unclear who Beijing is targeting with the campaign, or what the impact has been. Lee Foster, an intelligence analyst at US cybersecurity firm FireEye, said the fake account campaigns on Twitter and Facebook were"relatively unsophisticated". "(It's) not too dissimilar we've seen from Russia about 4-5 years ago in terms of very simplistic personas and the use of identical messaging across accounts," he said. King-wa Fu, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong's Journalism and Media Centre, said he suspected the impact within Hong Kong was minimal. "The majority of Hong Kong consume local media content," he said. Locals shout at riot police as they chase anti-government protesters down Nathan Road in Mong Kok in Hong Kong, China. (Photo: EUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files) 'FAN GIRLS' AND CELEBRITIES The Hong Kong demonstrations began almost three months ago as a protest against a new extradition law and have since snowballed into a broader movement to defend the city-state's civil liberties in the face of what is perceived to be tightening mainland control. Wang said she and her group of online peers, also known as 'fan girls' or 'fanquan girls', began to campaign against the protests after her idol Zhang, a member of South Korean boy band Exo, joined other Chinese celebrities last week to say that he backed the Hong Kong police and Beijing's territorial sovereignty. "Since our big brother loves our country so much, we fans have to support him," she told Reuters."So I went on Instagram to post messages such as 'Hong Kong is part of China,' 'Reject violence,' and 'Hong Kong police are the best!'" READ: 'Too scared to buy ice cream for my son': Hong Kong protests leave some residents looking for an exit They were joined by other internet denizens such as those on 'Di Bar,' a discussion forum that is part of search engine giant Baidu's platform, where calls went out to the group's 31.3 million members asking them to flood overseas social media platforms with similar slogans and posts. The internet movements were endorsed by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday on its nightly news programme, one of China's most-watched shows. "These days, from fanquan girls to Di Bar, netizens to overseas students, all the forces which love Hong Kong and China have united to support and safeguard the city,' said newscaster Gang Qiang. State television's English-language channel CGTN, the official Xinhua news agency and the Communist Party's People's Daily have all taken to Twitter and Facebook with gusto, denouncing the protesters and putting out Beijing's voice. "What must be hidden and has to flee is not good, but evil," CGTN said in a tweet on Wednesday that was accompanied by a video of masked protesters with captions saying they wanted to hide their identities to avoid retribution. Read more: CNA

Pompeo says China should respect Hong Kong protesters' rights HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Secretary of State Michael Pompeo called on China to respect Hong Kong demonstrators' rights and to fulfil its pledge to uphold one country with two systems of government.. Read more at straitstimes.com.

Pompeo urges China to respect Hong Kong protesters' rightsWASHINGTON: In interviews on Tuesday (Aug 20), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Washington's calls for China to honour its one ...

Worker at Britain’s Hong Kong consulate is feared detained in ChinaHONG KONG — China has detained an employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong after he crossed the border into the mainland, his family and his girlfriend said, raising fears that Chinese authorities might be targeting travellers they suspect of supporting the Hong Kong protests.

Worker at Britain’s Hong Kong consulate is feared detained in ChinaHONG KONG — China has detained an employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong after he crossed the border into the mainland, his family and his girlfriend said, raising fears that Chinese authorities might be targeting travellers they suspect of supporting the Hong Kong protests.

Ongoing protests could drag down economies in both Hong Kong and China: Bank of East AsiaA major bank warned on Wednesday that weeks of protests in Hong Kong could hit the economies of the Chinese-ruled city and mainland China itself ...

Money, muscle, media: how China has handled Hong Kong protestsChina has deployed a three-pronged strategy to suffocate pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong -- propaganda, economic leverage and intimidation. Here is a look at Beijing 's efforts so far to squash a movement that has refused to die. - Shaping the narrative - As protests erupted in June, discussion



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