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中国互联网上的仇外言论煽动现实中的暴力?

袁莉

2024年7月5日

Ran Zheng

The video posted last year on Chinese social media showed more than 100 Japanese children, supposedly at an elementary school in Shanghai, gathered in their schoolyard. Chinese subtitles quoted two students leading the group as screaming: “Shanghai is ours. Soon the whole China will be ours, too.”

去年在中国社交媒体上出现了这样一条视频,100多名日本儿童聚集在校园里,据说是位于上海的一所小学。中文字幕显示两名领头学生呼喊着口号:“上海是我们的。很快中国也是我们的。”

The messages were alarming and infuriating in China, which Japan invaded during World War II. Except that the scene actually took place at an elementary school in Japan. And the students were not stoking hatred of China; they were swearing an oath to play fair at what looked like a sporting event.

在曾于“二战”期间遭到日本侵略的中国,这些话令人震惊和愤怒。不过,这一幕其实发生在日本的一所小学。学生们并不是在煽动对中国的仇恨;他们是在宣誓,要在这场看起来像是体育赛事的比赛中公平竞争。

The video wasn’t taken down until after it had been viewed more than 10 million times.

这段视频的浏览量超过1000万次后才被删除。

Xenophobic online content like the schoolyard video is the subject of debate in China right now. Last week, a Chinese man stabbed a Japanese mother and her son in eastern China. Two weeks earlier, four visiting instructors from a college in Iowa were stabbed in northeastern China. Some Chinese are questioning the role that online speech plays in inciting real-world violence.

网上像这个校园视频这样的仇外内容目前在中国正引起热议。上周,一名中国男子在中国东部刺伤了一对日本母子。两周前,艾奥瓦州一所大学的四名访问教师在中国东北被刺伤。一些中国人怀疑,网络言论煽动了现实世界中的暴力。

China has the world’s most sophisticated system to censor the internet when it wants to. The government sets strict rules about what can and cannot be said about politics, economics, society and the country’s leadership. Internet companies deploy an army of censors. Private citizens censor themselves, knowing that what they post can get their social media accounts deleted or, worse, land them in jail.

中国拥有世界上最先进的审查系统,能在其需要时对互联网进行审查。政府制定了严格的规则,规定了在政治、经济、社会和国家领导人方面,什么可以说,什么不可以说。互联网企业安排了一支审查员大军。普通民众也会进行自我审查,他们知道自己若有不慎,轻则导致社交媒体账号封号,重则锒铛入狱。

Yet the Chinese internet is laden with hate speech toward Japanese, Americans, Jews and Africans, as well as Chinese who are critical of the government. False information about Japan and the United States regularly tops lists of popular searches and receives a ton of reposts and likes.

然而,中国互联网上充斥着对日本人、美国人、犹太人、非洲人以及批评政府的中国人的仇恨言论。关于日本和美国的虚假信息经常高居热搜榜首,并获得大量转发和点赞。

What is happening online is influenced by the rising nationalism that has been promoted in China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. Mr. Xi has adopted a China-versus-the-rest-of-the-world mentality. One of China’s responses to worsening tensions with its rivals was “wolf warrior” diplomacy, a term used to describe an ultranationalistic and often hostile approach to geopolitics.

在国家主席习近平的领导下,中国不断高涨的民族主义情绪也在影响着互联网。习近平采取了一种与世界为敌的心态。面对与竞争对手日益恶化的紧张关系,中国的回应之一是“战狼外交”,这个词用来形容一种极端民族主义而且往往充满敌意的地缘政治策略。

Of course, online hate speech and disinformation are not unique to China. But the Chinese government runs a well-oiled public opinion machine that tolerates and even encourages this kind of message when it’s directed at certain countries and their people. The authorities silence voices that try to correct the falsehoods or reason with their purveyors. The internet companies cash in on the online traffic that the chauvinistic content draws. And social media influencers, those at the grass roots and some of the most high-profile intellectuals and writers of the Xi era, get traffic and income.

当然,网络上的仇恨言论和虚假信息并非中国所独有。但是,中国政府运转着一台精良的舆论机器,当这种信息针对特定国家及其人民时,它持容忍甚至鼓励的态度。当局甚至会压制那些试图纠正谎言或与传播者讲道理的声音。互联网公司从沙文主义内容吸引的网络流量中获利。而社交媒体上的大V、社会底层人士,以及在习近平时代一些最为高调的知识分子和作家则收割流量和收入。

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In February 2023, the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, was covered extensively by Chinese state media. Influencers spun many conspiracy theories. One called the incident the equivalent of Chernobyl, the 1986 nuclear accident, and said it had left most of Ohio unlivable. The theory claimed that the U.S. government and the mainstream media were trying to cover it up, similar to what happened with Chernobyl.

2023年2月,一列载有有毒化学物质的火车在俄亥俄州东巴勒斯坦镇脱轨,中国的官方媒体对此进行了广泛报道。大V们编造了许多阴谋论。其中一人称,这起事件相当于1986年的切尔诺贝利核事故,并称其导致俄亥俄州的大部分地区无法居住。这种说法还声称,美国政府和主流媒体试图掩盖此事,就像当年切尔诺贝利事故一样。

Duan Lian, an online misinformation consultant who has 1.7 million followers on the social media platform Weibo, posted an article about the East Palestine tragedy that tried to separate facts from fallacies. He urged the public not to fall for misinformation. The article was reposted more than 1,000 times — and then it was deleted. His Weibo account was suspended for about three months, with Weibo citing violations of online regulations.

在社交媒体平台微博上拥有170万粉丝的网络虚假信息顾问段炼(音)发了一篇关于东巴勒斯坦悲剧的文章,试图将事实与谬论区分开来。他呼吁公众不要被虚假信息所误导。这篇文章被转发了1000多次,然后被删除。他的微博账号被冻结约三个月,微博给出的理由是违反了网络规定。

“The space for free speech has narrowed,” he told me in an interview.

“言论的空间变窄了,”他在接受采访时告诉我。

Mr. Duan has been active on Weibo since 2010 and is known for his insightful work combating misinformation.

自2010年以来一直活跃在微博上的段炼以打击虚假信息的独到见解而闻名。

“In the past, if CCTV made a significant error in its reporting, you could mock it, right?” he said, referring to China Central Television, the state broadcaster. “But now, even if they blatantly lie, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“以前如果说央视报道的东西出了很大的纰漏,你是可以去嘲笑他的,对吧?”他说,他指的是中国的国家电视台。“但是现在呢,人家就是公然的撒谎,你也没有办法。”

Liu Su, a science blogger in Shanghai, was censored for trying to set the record straight on a coordinated government campaign targeting Japan.

上海的科普博主刘夙因为在一次针对日本的政府协调行动中试图厘清真相而遭到审查。

In 2023, China spread disinformation about the safety of the Japanese government’s decision to release treated radioactive water from the ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. There were fear and outrage about what’s known in China as “nuclear-contaminated wastewater.”

2023年,日本政府决定将受损的福岛第一核电站经过处理的放射性水排放到海洋中,对这一决定的安全性,中国散布了不实信息。在中国,人们对所谓的“核污染水”感到恐惧和愤怒。

After Mr. Liu wrote several articles challenging what was being said, someone reported him to the internet regulator in Shanghai. Mr. Liu deleted the article, posted an apology and promised to stay away from commenting on current affairs. Then his public WeChat social media account was suspended for six months.

在刘夙写了几篇质疑文章后,有人向上海的互联网监管机构举报了他。刘夙将文章删除,并做了道歉,承诺不再对时事发表评论。接着,他的微信公众号被冻结了六个月。

Mr. Liu is one of a number of Chinese intellectuals who have voiced their concerns about the online condemnation of foreigners. In another article on WeChat this year, he criticized the trend of praising traditional Chinese medicine while belittling Western medicine. He was reported again.

刘夙是众多对网上的排外风气表示担忧的中国知识分子中的一员。在今年微信上的另一篇文章中,他对褒中医贬西医的风气提出了批评。结果,他再次被人举报。

“If the backbone of a society is completely submerged by the tide of nationalism, the future fate of the country is predictable,” he wrote.

“如果中流砥柱被民族主义大潮彻底淹没,那么这个国家的未来命运也可想而知,”他写道。

China’s foreign ministry spokespeople said the recent attacks on foreigners were isolated crimes. The local authorities haven’t shared much information. But on social media, many comments praised the attacks and the perpetrators.

中国外交部发言人说,最近针对外国人的袭击属于孤立事件。地方当局没有透露太多信息。但在社交媒体上,许多评论都对袭击事件和肇事者予以赞扬。

Another force for spreading online hate is a popular genre of short dramas on Chinese video platforms such as Douyin. In the videos, influencers stage scenes in which Chinese are humiliated by Japanese and then beat them up using martial arts moves. Or sometimes, a whole scene is just about insulting and beating Japanese people.

传播网络仇恨的另一股力量是抖音等中国视频平台上流行的短剧。在这些视频中,网红们表演中国人被日本人羞辱后,用武打动作暴揍日本人的场景。有时,整个场景就是侮辱和殴打日本人。

Anti-America sentiment is popular, too.

反美情绪也很普遍。

“I’ve been concerned for my two-plus years here about the very aggressive Chinese government efforts to denigrate America, to tell a distorted story about American society, American history, American policy,” Nicholas Burns, the U.S. ambassador to China, told The Wall Street Journal in an article last week. “It happens every day on all the networks available to the government here, and there’s a high degree of anti-Americanism online.”

美国驻华大使尼古拉斯·伯恩斯上周在接受《华尔街日报》采访时表示:“我来到这里两年多,对中国政府竭力诋毁美国,歪曲美国的社会、历史和政策感到担忧。这种事每天都在政府掌控的所有网络上发生,网上有着强烈的反美情绪。”

It is telling to look at the times when Chinese censors act swiftly and effectively to remove something they don’t like.

看看中国的审查人员如何迅速有效地删除他们不喜欢的内容时,就很能说明问题了。

In 2021, after the tennis player Peng Shuai accused a former senior national leader of sexual assault on her Weibo account, it took censors 20 minutes to delete the post and nearly all other posts about it. This is what’s known as a blanket ban.

2021年,网球运动员彭帅在她的微博上指控一名原国家领导人对她进行性侵,审查人员用20分钟就删除了这条微博以及与之相关的几乎所有微博。这就是所谓的全网封杀。

A year earlier, to stop the Chinese public from talking about Mr. Xi, a social media platform censored 564 names that users had come up with to refer to him, including “a guy in Beijing,” “a big deal” and “the last emperor.” In 2016, a regulator gave a video platform a database of more than 35,000 terms about Mr. Xi that it wanted policed.

一年前,为了阻止中国公众谈论习近平,一个社交媒体平台对于用户用来称呼他的564种叫法进行了审查,其中包括“北京一男子”、“a big deal”和“末代皇帝”。2016年,监管机构向一个视频平台提供了一个数据库,其中包含逾3.5万个关于习近平的词汇,并希望对它们进行监管。

On Friday, Chinese people learned that a 52-year-old woman named Hu Youping, who had tried to stop the attack on the Japanese mother and son in eastern China, had died from her injuries. Many people mourned her on social media. Some said they wondered if the crime, targeting Japanese people, had anything to do with China’s nationalistic online environment.

上周五,中国人民获悉52岁的胡友平因伤势过重去世——此前她在中国东部某地试图阻止对一对日本母子的袭击。许多人在社交媒体上表示了哀悼。一些人说,他们想知道这起针对日本人的犯罪行为是否与中国的民族主义网络环境有关。

In a rare move, China’s biggest internet platforms issued notices over the weekend that they were cracking down on hate speech that targeted Japanese and incited extreme nationalism. The questions are: How long will this continue? How much can it change an ecosystem that has been breeding hatred? And what will happen when it’s politically convenient for the government to use Japan and the United States as the boogeymen again? The notices themselves got many nasty comments.

上周末,中国最大的几家互联网平台罕见地发布通知,表示将打击针对日本人和煽动极端民族主义的仇恨言论。问题是:这种情况会持续多久?它能在多大程度上改变一个一直在滋生仇恨的生态系统?当政府为了政治目的,再次对日本和美国进行妖魔化时会发生什么?这些通告引来了许多恶毒的评论。

“In this grand drama that plays out every day, some are directors, some are actors, some set the stage while the others are the audience,” wrote Peng Yuanwen, a former journalist. He called the attacker in last week’s incident a victim of nationalistic brainwashing. “He has become too deeply immersed in the play, finding it difficult to extricate himself,” Mr. Peng said.

“这场天天都在上演的大戏中,有人是导演,有人是演员,有人是搭台的,有人是看戏的,”原新闻工作者彭远文写道。他称上周事件中的袭击者是民族主义洗脑的受害者。“而他,入戏太深,难以自拔。”

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