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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Insta-star wars: China tensions in Southeast Asia flare online

    BANGKOK (Reuters) - Social media anger from Chinese nationalists over a Thai internet model’s comments on the coronavirus has set off a storm, uniting pro-democracy campaigners against pro-Beijing cyber-warriors, with insults and mocking memes flying.

    The quarrel, which has seen Southeast Asian internet users join forces with those in Taiwan and Hong Kong, has highlighted old tensions between China and its smaller neighbours fanned by the emergence of the new coronavirus.


    Political analysts and activists said the online row, which started at the weekend, was unique in volume and regional spread at a time when ever more of life has been forced online.


    “This is the first transnational geopolitical Twitter war Thais have engaged in,” said Prajak Kongkirati of Bangkok’s Thammasat University.


    “We see people questioning China’s actions and influence ... The celebrity issue is the tip of the iceberg.”


    Related Twitter hashtags generated more than two million tweets and trended globally. A fan page for the main hashtag, #Nnevvy, has more than 63,000 Facebook followers.


    “Nnevvy” is the social media moniker of internet model Weeraya Sukaram and the dispute began after she was accused of sharing a Thai Twitter message questioning whether the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory.


    Furious Chinese netizens then said she had once appeared to suggest, in a post on Instagram, that Taiwan was not part of China. Beijing says the self-ruled island is an indivisible part of its territory.


    Weeraya did not respond to requests for comment and neither of the messages was visible on her accounts.

    Further fuelling the fire, Chinese accounts then accused Weeraya’s boyfriend, Vachirawit Chivaaree, of having once liked a post that identified Hong Kong as a country - again a no-no for Beijing.


    Despite his apology, they called for a boycott of his hit TV show.


    Related hashtags on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo resulted in more than 4.64 billion views and 1.44 million posts.


    In the face of the pro-China barrage, support rallied for the Thai celebrities from anti-Beijing activists and politicians - including Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong and a Taiwan mayor.


    ‘PAN-ASIAN SOLIDARITY’


    Wong posted a photo watching Vachirawit’s show and urged Hong Kong to “stand with our freedom-loving Thai friends”.


    “Perhaps we can build a new kind of pan-Asian solidarity that opposes all forms of authoritarianism!” he wrote.


    Thai pro-democracy student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal said he and Wong had been in touch and that Thais were uneasy over growing Chinese influence since a 2014 coup in Thailand, whose leader, Prayuth Chan-ocha, won a disputed election last year.


    “The hashtag provided an opportunity to speak up,” Netiwit told Reuters.

    Meanwhile, some users in the Philippines took on the hashtag to attack Chinese action in the disputed South China Sea.


    China’s foreign ministry pointed the finger at a plot to stir up trouble and said China and Thailand were working closely together, including on the coronavirus outbreak.


    “Certain people use the opportunity to incite dispute on the internet, creating oppositions between public opinions, playing off China-Thailand relations, their plot shall not succeed,” the ministry said in a response to questions from Reuters.


    Twitter is blocked in China and only accessible for those using virtual private networks or with official approval.


    Social media consultancy Drone Emprit found that automated bot accounts were using the #Nnevvy hashtag but it did not say where they came from. Reuters found that several pro-China accounts had been created in the last few days and only contained comments on the dispute.


    “While #Nnevvy started off as an intense overnight Twitter war between Thailand and China, it’s now turned into meaningful diplomatic engagement with Hong Kong and Taiwan,” said Tracy Beattie of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.


    Insults from Chinese nationalists against Thailand’s government and king were laughed off by Thai campaigners who themselves attack the administration as undemocratic. The king has faced unprecedented online criticism recently despite a penalty of up to 15 years in jail for anyone insulting him.


    Thailand’s government was aware of the social media battle between Thai and Chinese accounts and it urged Thai internet users to express themselves within reason, said deputy government spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek.


    Thai posters, using one well-known internet meme, labelled a menacing character as Chinese people trying to hurt Thai people’s feelings by insulting their country. A nonchalant character was described as Thai people who have been insulting their country for years.


    Meanwhile, Thai users mocked China for authoritarian rule and likened President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh - a comparison that is banned in China.

    Insta-star wars: China tensions in Southeast Asia flare online - Reuters

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Oh dear, lots of hinkies triggered.

    HONG KONG IS A COUNTRY

    TAIWAN IS A COUNTRY

    CORONAVIRUS STARTED IN A CHINKY LAB

    PRESIDENT XI LOOKS LIKE WINNIE THE POOH


    Now I shall just sit back and wait for petulant chinky wankers to arrive with their twatter accounts.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
    Lostandfound's Avatar
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    Insta-star wars: China tensions in Southeast Asia flare online-ac6a6a02-a640-47c9-8be9-059c6c07eb3d-jpegInsta-star wars: China tensions in Southeast Asia flare online-ac6a6a02-a640-47c9-8be9-059c6c07eb3d-jpeg

  4. #4
    I am no longer a Hostage
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    HONG KONG IS A COUNTRY
    Nope
    For rent and now handed back to the rightful owners.

    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    TAIWAN IS A COUNTRY
    I'd say so
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    CORONAVIRUS STARTED IN A CHINKY LAB
    Who knows ?
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    PRESIDENT XI LOOKS LIKE WINNIE THE POOH
    Not at all

    One of your better guesstimates, Harry

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helge View Post
    One of your better guesstimates, Harry
    I haven't had one of them get on their twatter yet.

    Must be scared.

  6. #6
    Member Bettyboo's Avatar
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    The Taiwan stuff really pisses me off - the international community, whether governmental, multi-national organisations or companies/brands, need to give China the middle finger on this issue. Taiwan is a separate nation of the quality that China can only dream of and is unlikely to ever reach.

    Sadly, HK is part of China although the people of HK desperately wish it wasn't...
    How do I post these pictures???

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat
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    Whatever you think of China and it's claims, only 14 of the 193 countries in the UN recognise Taiwan's claim to be a republic.
    Last edited by Chico; 16-04-2020 at 02:28 PM.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
    Farang Ky Ay's Avatar
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    If this escalates I can think of a few topics Chinese keyboard warriors could use to trigger an uproar in Thailand...but China government hasn't finished its' projects here so it may not happen.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Whatever you think of China and it's claims, only 14 of the 193 countries in the UN recognise Taiwan's claim to be a republic.
    Taiwan has a legitimate claim to China, so they should enforce it.


  10. #10
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    so they should enforce it.
    I'm sure they will, and the world govt's will look on as the new world police take over.

  11. #11
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Whatever you think of China and it's claims, only 14 of the 193 countries in the UN recognise Taiwan's claim to be a republic.

    Officially, that is.
    Guaranteed, beyond closed doors and among themselves, the percentile ratio is much more substantial.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Thai Twitter Users Take on China’s ‘Little Pinks’ in Meme War

    Social media users from Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong have taken to Twitter in recent days to hit back at China's “Little Pink” nationalists, who started trolling Thai users after an online altercation with Thai actor Vachirawat Cheevaari (known as Bright) and his girlfriend Weeraya Sukaram.


    The row erupted after online supporters of the Chinese Communist Party, known as Little Pinks, took issue with a tweet from Bright, the star of hit Thai TV show 2gether, who seemed to imply Hong Kong was a separate country from China.


    Weeraya also drew their ire by suggesting the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, prompting Chinese netizens to threaten to boycott Thai soaps and not to travel to the country as tourists after the pandemic.


    Thai users hit back with video of Chinese tourists piling their plates and shoving each other at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and multiple references to the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, including the “Tank Man” image in a number of guises, including an impromptu sculpture made from fast food.


    A loose confederation of Twitterati from Thailand, Hong Kong and democratic Taiwan – using the hashtag #nnevvy, Weeraya's Twitter username – also fought back with a string of memes.


    Meanwhile, Weeraya commented that she dressed more like a “Taiwanese” after being told she looked like a “cute Chinese girl,” drawing down further Little Pink ire on the couple.


    While Chinese users hurled insults at the Thai king and called Thais poor, Thais retorted with humor, such as thanking them for highlighting Thai problems to the world, and with photos of collapsed apartment buildings due to substandard building materials and corruption in China.


    When they claimed Taiwan as belonging to China, Thai users asked why Chinese nationals need a visa to visit the democratic island, which remains a sovereign state as the 1911 Republic of China.


    The clincher, according to some comments, lay in the Thai users’ keenly developed political humor and their freedom to deploy it, for example, when a Thai user responded to a Chinese insult targeting the Thai government with the words: “Say it louder!”


    ‘Milk tea alliance’


    The flame war quickly drew the attention of other Twitter users tired of being targeted by Little Pinks, who need to use a banned VPN to evade their own government’s Great Firewall of censorship, and whose comments often include the insult “ni ma sile” (NMSL), meaning “your mother is dead.”


    “Taiwan is not China,” Twitter user Amazing wrote. “Free Hong Kong and Xinjiang and Tebet! (sic) Thank you Thais Free mainland china ... bomb the wall! #nnevvy #freechina”


    Taiwan and Hong Kong twitter users praised Thais for speaking out on their behalf.


    Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong joined in with a meme showing Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan depicted as three types of milk tea, labeled the “Milk Tea Alliance.”


    Wong posted a selfie while watching 2gether, and urged Hong Kong to “stand with our freedom-loving Thai friends.”


    “Perhaps we can build a new kind of pan-Asian solidarity that opposes all forms of authoritarianism!” he wrote.


    From Taiwan, the mayor of Taoyuan city, Cheng Wen-Tsan, threw his support behind the alliance.


    “Thank you our friends from #Thailand,” Cheng tweeted, along with the flags of Taiwan and Thailand.


    “Thailand has long been a popular travel destination for the Taiwanese. We look forward to increased exchanges after the #COVID19 outbreak!”


    ‘Bias and ignorance’


    The Chinese Embassy in Thailand weighed in on its Facebook page on Tuesday, insisting that the Thai government and Thais have supported the One China Principle, whereby China insists that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.


    “The recent online noises only reflect bias and ignorance of its maker, which does not in any way represent the standing stance of the Thai government nor the mainstream public opinion of the Thai People,” the Facebook statement said.


    It also accused “some particular people” of sabotaging the friendship between the Chinese and Thai people but said “they will not succeed.”


    The statement was slammed by some Thai internet users, among them Nuttaa Mahattana, a prominent political rights activist.


    “The Chinese embassy has crossed the line in telling Thai people how to think on this very issue. “That’s why it caused a lot of anger among Thai netizens,” Nuttaa told BenarNews.


    “They are not a fan of authoritarians. They have long been opposed to the Thai government under the Prayuth regime, and then they see there is no difference between China and Thailand,” she said, referring to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a former general and junta leader.


    Meanwhile, Vorasakdi Mahatdhanobol, a lecturer at Thammasat University, called the incident an outburst of dissatisfaction over the way China has asserted its power in the region.


    “Many sensitive issues have been included in this quarrel because it opens the opportunity for people to express their thoughts on how China has played its role in the region,” he said.


    “China always talks about peace, fairness and mutual benefit when it comes to its relationship with other countries. However, many incidents prove otherwise. For Thais, how China handles the Mekong issue is an example of power playing for the benefit of China only.”


    China has built numerous dams along its portion of the river that is lifeline to Southeast Asian countries downstream. According to a recent study by a U.S. research firm, China compounded a devastating drought last year by restricting the flow of huge amounts of water.


    Backed by Beijing


    Anti-China hashtags have been at the top of Thai twitter for several days. Hashtags such as #Nnevvy, #savennevvy, #Milk tea alliance, #Milk tea is thicker than blood, and #stopmekongdam have several million posts combined.


    Former 1989 student leader Wang Dan said the Little Pinks may appear to be acting as individuals, but they have strong incentives for behaving this way.


    “The so-called Chinese netizens who came out and insulted people overseas obviously had government backing,” Wang told Radio Free Asia, an online affiliate of BenarNews.


    “This was a government action, a part of its overseas influence [operations], and a part of its ideology of expanding its reach overseas.”


    Citizen journalist and computer expert Zhou Shuguang, who is now a national of Taiwan, said the Thais were widely seen as having won the #nnevvy battle.


    “I think the Thais crushed the Little Pinks with their attitude and their experience,” Zhou said. “All the Little Pinks knew how to say was ‘your mother is dead.’”

    Thai Twitter Users Take on China’s ‘Little Pinks’ in Meme War

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
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    ^ already posted up.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    Thai users hit back with video of Chinese tourists piling their plates and shoving each other at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and multiple references to the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, including the “Tank Man” image in a number of guises, including an impromptu sculpture made from fast food.
    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    While Chinese users hurled insults at the Thai king and called Thais poor, Thais retorted with humor, such as thanking them for highlighting Thai problems to the world, and with photos of collapsed apartment buildings due to substandard building materials and corruption in China.
    I have a new found appreciation of Thai humor after reading that!

  15. #15
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent_Smith View Post
    I have a new found appreciation of Thai humor after reading that!
    It all sounds so utterly childish, though, doesn't it? Just the title alone . . . war!!!!

    "Thai Twitter Users Take on China’s ‘Little Pinks’ in Meme War"

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat VocalNeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    Weeraya also drew their ire by suggesting the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, prompting Chinese netizens to threaten to boycott Thai soaps and not to travel to the country as tourists after the pandemic.
    I think the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan. If they promise not to come back.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    The Taiwan stuff really pisses me off - the international community, whether governmental, multi-national organisations or companies/brands, need to give China the middle finger on this issue. Taiwan is a separate nation of the quality that China can only dream of and is unlikely to ever reach.

    Sadly, HK is part of China although the people of HK desperately wish it wasn't...
    Was left wondering back in 1997, all things being equal except reversed roles, whether China would have handed HK over to Britain under Treaty or told us to come try take it.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Whatever you think of China and it's claims, only 14 of the 193 countries in the UN recognise Taiwan's claim to be a republic.
    Taiwan’s Status Is a Geopolitical Absurdity
    The island is not recognized by its most important ally, faces an existential threat from territory it claims as its own, and its sovereign status is being gradually erased by companies seeking to preserve access to the world’s largest market.

    Good read, esp as the CVirus consequences could start rocking this boat among others...more at: Taiwan's Status Is a Geopolitical Absurdity - The Atlantic

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    It all sounds so utterly childish, though, doesn't it? Just the title alone . . . war!!!!

    Every problem, challenge, argument is likened to war nowadays. Hyperbole makes good headlines.

  20. #20
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent_Smith View Post
    Every problem, challenge, argument is likened to war nowadays. Hyperbole makes good headlines.
    That's true . . . 'war' and 'hero' are so vastly overused

  21. #21
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    How long, until the Thai government is gonna witch hunt its own youngsters for engaging in anti-China wars??...

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