lørdag 31. august 2019

Angry Nationalists Don’t Sell China’s Message

China analysts have always hoped that the next generation would bring change, especially as the elite headed overseas. But that’s not looking very likely. On Aug. 17, a group of Chinese students in their patriotic Ferraris, McLarens, Porsches, and Aston Martins adorned with five-starred flags, ran their dragsters alongside a pro-Hong Kong rally in Toronto, calling the Hong Kong protesters “poor garbage.”

The previous day, a shouting match erupted at a pro-Hong Kong rally at the University of South Australia in Adelaide. In response to chants of “Hong Kong, Stay Strong,” mainland Chinese students countered in unison, “Cao ni ma bi”—an obscene Chinese insult that’s made its way into the Urban Dictionary.

In the meantime, though, Hong Kongers are taking to the streets in defense of their rights — and seeing their young leaders arrested as a result. These clashes aren’t just about disparate politics. They’re the battle lines between two entirely different spheres of information, a form of warfare that will define the 21st century. Inside the world of mainland Chinese control, truth and fiction seem reversed. The Chinese students involved in this aggressive political messaging are pushing their country’s narrative—and getting praise for their behavior at home. But that same message is backfiring outside of the mainland, even among some Chinese communities elsewhere in Asia.