Hong Kong protesters suggest using LIHKG to share fake news about Wuhan virus

Hong Kong protesters suggest using LIHKG to share fake news about Wuhan virus

A forum user posted the idea of sharing made-up stories to negatively impact mainlanders' support for the Chinese government

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The controversial suggestion appeared on LIHKG on Thursday.
Photo: Kelly Ho

A user on a local forum LIHKG suggested using the developing Wuhan virus news to spread unverified and fake news in hopes of alienating the Chinese people from the Chinese government.

The entry was published on Thursday and has since drawn 10 pages of responses and discussions. 
 
The user with the handle “Guo Jia” said that the Hong Kong revolution had been going on for eight months, but it still hadnt made an impact on the mainland. Guo Jia said this was “because a lot of [mainlanders]
have been ... trained to only worry about what benefits them, and have no desire to fight for justice … except when they’re the victims of injustice.”
 
 

Guo Jia saw sharing news of the China coronavirus as an opportunity to bring down the Communist Party: “In a society with little to no access to information, what’s more destructive than rumours?”

He added that in this very critical time, if scandals about the Communist regime were leaked, all the citizens who had suffered or been unfairly treated because of these scandals would unite in anger, and rise and revolt.

“We all know that, although many Chinese speak in a supportive way about their country, in their bones, none of them actually trusts the government,” Guo Jia said.

Fake news may be trending, but that doesn't mean it's new

He suggested that, by playing up the privileges that the rich and families of officials enjoy on the mainland, people could stir up discontent. For example, someone might invent a story saying that officials’ children somehow managed to leave Wuhan, even though the city was on lockdown.

The best way to succeed, Guo Jia said, was to make use of “our brilliant protest promotion and IT teams”. By utilising all these talents and language skills, he aimed to spread such rumours all over the mainland.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, the only thing that matters is that the people will buy into this,” Guo Jia said on the forum. “If we spread all this unverified news about how officials’ families always enjoy certain privileges, the corruption within the government, and the loopholes in the Chinese medical system … having no way to fact-check anything, people will only believe one thing: the Communist Party has indeed betrayed the people.”

The second way to challenge the Chinese government’s hold over the country, Guo Jia said, was to exaggerate the severity of Wuhan pneumonia, for example by making a poster that contains false information about the spread of the disease at a particular mall, and urging residents not to shop there.

Guo Jia added that, while in most cases, the government would deny the claim, the more they denied things, the more doubt the public would have. In the end, people would just stop going to that mall.

His suggestion has received a lot of positive responses. One of them said, “You’re right, if the Communist Party can keep spreading rumours to the Chinese people, we can do the same.”

Another said such fake news should also be posted on Weibo.

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However, some also questioned the feasibility of the plan, pointing out that it is difficult to disseminate information to the mainland. One of the users simply asked, “How do we spread the news?”

We asked Young Post Editor Susan Rmasay for her thoughts on the LIHKG post.

“Most people are very nervous right now, they’ll just read anything that’s connected to the virus,” she said. “So the LIHKG user was just playing on that fear and anxiety to further their political agenda.”

She added that if there were free press in China, journalists could investigate and report the truth. People would certainly find those reports far more believable than what an official sitting at his office in Beijing said.

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