‘What a shame to Hong Kong’: Chinese users flood Instagram

Society & Culture

After days of deliberate silence on the turbulent situation in Hong Kong, news outlets in mainland China started this week reporting on the Beijing government’s official responses to the Hong Kong protests. The media coverage, which was largely propaganda-driven and nationalism-fueled, inevitably whipped up some extreme sentiment among patriotic mainlanders, who created the hashtag “Hong Kong terrorists besiege mainland tourists” (香港恐怖分子围攻内地游客 xiānggǎng kǒngbù fènzi wéigōng nèidì yóukè) on Weibo yesterday.

The hashtag quickly trended and has generated more than 85 million views on the micro-blogging platform so far. Its popularity, however, didn’t translate well to a global impact because Weibo is almost exclusively used by internet users in mainland China, who are denied access to social media websites favored by the rest of the world, such as Twitter and Instagram.

In an attempt to construct an unfavorable narrative about the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong for the eyes of the rest of the world, hundreds of thousands of mainlanders have bypassed the Great Firewall, China’s massive internet filtering system, and flocked to Instagram to denounce the protesters and exhibit solidarity as mainlanders. Congregating around the hashtag #whatashametohongkong, these tech-savvy internet users from the mainland, who are mostly young people with the knowledge of how to use a virtual private network (VPN) service, have been spreading various forms of pro-CCP messages on the platform.

Below are some examples:




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Keep calm and love HK 🇭🇰🇨🇳 请示威者们真的好好睁大眼睛 意识到谁才是真正造成香港这样局面的罪魁祸首?是内地吗?是政府吗?难道不是你们自己毫无头脑的极端行为引起的吗?你们对外国人服服帖帖的 对待自己的同胞就这么残忍吗?或许你们有很多不满,你们有自己心里的苦衷。但是你们可不可以清醒地想一下现在这样是否违背自己的初衷了。你们说内地全是fake news 可是我们不仅接受到内地的新闻,我们也知道内地外国外及香港媒体对我们的评价,在自己的独立判断之下,我们选择发表出这样的言论。反观你们,接受到的讯息无一个不是biased的,内地人说什么都选择性无视,到底谁才被洗脑了??????????保持理智,独立思考,很难吗? #whatashametohongkong#hk#hongkong#ilovehk#whatashameforhongkong #freehongkong #CIAoutofHK #hongkongairport #hkfreedom #hongkongpolice

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