China’s social media troll ‘army’ wages war on Uighurs
  • Tue, 05/07/2019 - 22:05

7 May 2019 15:31 AFP

by Elizabeth Law

The Chinese troll army suddenly struck one evening, bombarding the Facebook pages of two pro-Uighur groups with an array of verbal grenades and offensive images.

The social media onslaught was the handiwork of the self-styled Diba Central Army, a Chinese patriotic group that has targeted other pages in the past to defend Beijing.

With China increasingly concerned about its global image over issues ranging from Taiwan — which Beijing sees as part of its territory — to draconian security in restive Xinjiang, Diba has served as a powerful online ally with its propaganda efforts.

While the group’s link to the state are unknown, its members have been lauded in state media as “patriotic grassroots voices”.

On April 10, several posts on the Talk to East Turkestan and Uyghur World Congress Facebook pages were strafed with a battery of images showing postcard-perfect pictures of happy people in Xinjiang with captions to the same effect.

The images were stamped with the Diba Central Army logo.

Other comments and images were either racially offensive or threatening, many referring to the pages as “terrorist groups”.

“A terrorist page, no different from ISIS,” read one comment on the Talk to East Turkestan (TET) page.