China · Information operations · Sweden · Trolls

How China’s army of online trolls turned on Sweden

It looks like China’s ‘unofficial’ troll army is responding to the racist SVT YouTube video.  

A tour through China’s Troll Army’s Facebook page, 帝吧大军根据地, reveals quite a bit. 

On the SVT ‘humor’ page, they made fun of Chinese defecating in public. 

On the Emperor bar army base Facebook page, members posted all kinds of pictures showing exactly that.  It’s almost as if they are validating the SVT Chinese-offending YouTube video. 

The posts are rather bizarre, they seem to make statements with three or less words. Very few of the comments made sense to me, and I wasn’t sure if they were using code-words or not.  

According to Abacus News, 

“China’s troll army has more than 20 million personnel. This time, Sweden was their victim.”

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By Xinmei Shen 

Online trolls attack the country’s enemies… by flooding Facebook pages with angry messages

SVT appears to have deleted many comments on its page. (Pictures: Facebook)

It’s not the first time Di Ba has struck out at what it sees as enemies of China.

In January 2016, Di Ba gained international fame after the attack on the Facebook page of Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen, flooding her posts with nearly 40,000 comments in just eight hours.

But the campaign against the Swedish program was organized by a much smaller arm of the community. While the original Di Ba was based on the online forum Tieba (operated by Baidu), this one, named “the Di Ba Central Army”, operates on Facebook, and only has more than 44,000 members.

3,000 to 5,000 people participated this time, an organizer claims. An administrator of the group did not respond to our request for an interview.

The Di Ba community started from an online forum created in 2004 about Chinese football player Li Yi. Li was constantly mocked by netizens because he compared himself to the famous French player Thierry Henry, who was dubbed as King Henry by his Chinese fans. So the Li Yi forum was given the nickname “Di Ba”, which loosely translates to “King forum”.

Over the years, the forum expanded their satirical interests widely in other issues, and has generated some of China’s most popular internet slang including “Diaosi”, a self-deprecating term for being a loser.

In its QQ chat group of nearly 900 people, members exchange their patriotic views, share VPN files and occasionally, someone asks when the next attack will happen.

Back home, Chinese netizens have mixed feelings about their troll campaigns. While some people are applauding, a lot of people also ridicule their behavior for being shallow, embarrassing and hurtful.

Some even joke it’s a good thing that they’re stuck inside China’s tightly-controlled internet.

“The Great Firewall was built to protect foreign internet users,” several users said on Weibo.


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