Australia: 'Humiliating': Chinese nationalist trolls target critics in Australia - PressFrom - Australia

Australia'Humiliating': Chinese nationalist trolls target critics in Australia

13:10  19 august  2019
13:10  19 august  2019 Source:

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Chinese nationalism is the form of nationalism in China which asserts that the Chinese people However, many critics argue that despite this official view, assimilationist attitudes remain deeply Chinese nationalists deem Taiwanese separatists, Hong Kong separatists, and other similar

Chinese Australians are Australian citizens of Chinese ancestry. Chinese Australians are one of the largest groups of Overseas Chinese people

Ultra-nationalist Chinese trolls are targeting Australian-based critics of the Chinese Communist Party in vicious online campaigns designed to shut down dissent.

The attacks on social media platforms have been sparked by tensions over the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, which have spilled over into Australia in recent weeks. Protesters supporting the city's pro-democracy movement have been confronted by pro-China counter-protesters, leading to outbreaks of violence at universities and rallies in CBDs.

'Humiliating': Chinese nationalist trolls target critics in Australia© Monica Pronk Vicky Xu was trolled online. Journalist and comedian Vicky Xu was abused and threatened online after documenting pro-China protesters who chanted at a Sydney rally on Saturday that Hong Kong sympathisers should “get the f--- out”.

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The abuse came in the form of friend requests on the Chinese social media app WeChat and screenshots from private WeChat groups sent to her by friends. Some messages described her being raped, insulted her parents and called her a traitor. Others called for “doxxing” - the publication of personal details such as her address and phone number.

"It's so humiliating," Ms Xu told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “Half of their words I don’t understand, it’s like Chinese internet incel language.” Incel refers to the "involuntarily celibate" - an online, mostly male community known for its hatred of women.

While most WeChat users adopt pseudonyms, Ms Xu, a former New York Times reporter,  suspected the abusers were Chinese students or young professionals living in Australia. A former nationalistic student, Ms Xu said the Chinese state was “absolutely responsible” for the abusive language adopted by students, as Chinese officials and state media had encouraged their aggressive nationalism.

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Chinese nationalism today is characterized by an uneasy relationship between popular feelings of pride, disappointment and hope for China as a nation, and the Communist Party's efforts to utilize such feelings as a tool for social management and Party control. Was there nationalism in ancient China ?

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“I expect to see more ugly scenes playing out in Australia, unfortunately," she said.

Fergus Ryan, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre, said the nationalists' objective was a "chilling effect" on dissent, intimidating their targets into silence.

"For the few who are brave enough to voice their opinion, the consequences can be dire," Mr Ryan said. "If that person is doxxed, their friends and family in China are put in real danger — not just from vigilantes, but from the state itself. It’s like cyber-bullying on steroids."

Doxxing in Chinese internet culture is known as a "human flesh search".

Mr Ryan said it was difficult to know if the harassment was organic or orchestrated but the activity faces little censorship or pushback from Chinese authorities.

"This sort of online vigilantism is often encouraged and amplified by state-media outlets," he said.

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"Chinese nationalists are largely given free rein on the 'Chinese internet' — unlike other ideological groupings in China who are routinely censored and have limited ability to organise for online campaigns — let alone offline action."

'Humiliating': Chinese nationalist trolls target critics in Australia© AAP An anti-democracy protester grabs a man with a Taiwanese man around the neck at a rally in Sydney. Online trolling by Chinese nationalists has grown, with domestic and international targets, including Uighur human rights activists, pro-independence Taiwanese and any entities perceived to be hostile to the Communist Party.

The trolls appear to organise on WeChat or Chinese message boards - akin to Western sites 8chan and 4chan - but can carry out their harassment on any platform, including those banned in China.

Students who have participated in pro-Hong Kong protests in Australia have complained of threats, monitoring and harassment. The Herald and The Age revealed one student's account of his family in China being approached by authorities after he participated in an event in Brisbane.

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This time the main targets come from China , the rising power to the south. But the anti- Chinese tinge is distinct and increasingly popular. "While most people feel far-right discourse is too extreme But critics fear ultra- nationalists are simply becoming more sophisticated and, quietly, more powerful.

But the Nationalists in late 1934 forced the communist armies to abandon their bases and retreat. As never before in modern times, the Chinese united themselves against a foreign enemy. At the end of this first phase of the war, the Nationalist government had lost the best of its modern armies

Another student, Drew Pavlou of the University of Queensland, said Chinese nationalists online had subjected him to a "feeding frenzy" after he became active in protesting against the Chinese government.

Mr Pavlou, 20, said the abuse and death threats started after he was involved in high-profile protests at UQ in late July. He was suddenly on the receiving end of hundreds of messages across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Twitter.

"I have received probably dozens of death threats," he said. "I have received threats against my parents and family. There were rape and murder threats against my mother."

He said the accounts responsible belonged to a mix of people based in China and Australia. "It only started after my name and details were circulated on Chinese social media following the protests."

In one Instagram message, a user told Mr Pavlou he would hire someone to kill his family.

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