mandag 19. april 2021

Chinese feminists are being silenced by nationalist trolls. Some are fighting back

The torrent of hate messages filling Liang Xiaowen's inbox stopped as suddenly as it had started. For a week, the 29-year-old Chinese feminist was subject to incessant chauvinist and misogynist attacks on Weibo, one of China's most popular social media sites. She was called a "traitor" and a "xenocentric bitch." Some users discussed how to find her parents' home address.

Then, without any warning, Liang's account was removed by Weibo. "At first, I could not believe it," she said. "The slander against me continued online, but I can't even defend myself anymore." Liang, an attorney living in New York, is among more than 20 Chinese feminists and women's rights groups whose presence has been wiped fromsocial media over the past two weeks.

The disappearance of their accounts followed a similar pattern: Each was first accused by influential nationalist bloggers of being a "separatist" or "traitor." Then, a barrage of vicious messages and comments descended, with trolls reporting their accounts to Weibo moderators for supposedly "illegal" or "harmful" content. In a matter of days, they found their accounts shuttered -- with all posts and followers erased.