An 18-year old Chinese cyber-nationalist named Liu Sitong (刘思桐) recently reported to the police in Beijing a Taiwanese YouTuber who supports Taiwan’s independence. To his surprise, Liu was reprimanded by the police and was fined 3000 RMB for violating China’s internet censorship.
Liu Sitong is a so-called “little pink” (小粉红). The term originally referred to a group of female netizens on the website Jinjiang Literature City who supported the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and attacked people who criticized the Chinese government. It is now more broadly used to describe ultranationalist Chinese netizens.
Liu has a YouTube channel called “Patriotic Youth Liu Sitong” (爱国青年刘思桐), where he praises the CCP and China.
The Chinese authorities permanently blocked YouTube in China in 2009 after footage of security forces beating Tibetans was published on the platform.
Recently Liu put out a video (now deleted) in which he criticized Taiwanese YouTuber Pa-chiong (八炯), a supporter of Taiwan’s independence. In the video, Liu said that he was going to a police station to report Pa-chiong.
Taiwan is an independent country, but the People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims it as part of its territory and has vowed to use force to annex it. Taiwan’s independence is considered anathema by the CCP.
Liu Sitong took pictures of Pa-chiong’s YouTube channel, printed them out and then walked to a police station to report it to the authorities.
It appears that Liu believed that the PRC exercises jurisdiction over Taiwan and could thus punish Pa-chiong, though that is false, as Taiwan is entirely independent.
Liu initially intended to film his conversation with the police, likely to upload it on YouTube. But he was warned that he could not film inside the police station. He pretended to stop but continued to record the audio secretly.
Then, the situation took an unexpected turn. The police began to question him, asking how he was able to use YouTube. “Do you know that it’s illegal to jump over the wall?” the police asked.
“Jumping over the wall” (翻墙) is a phrase that refers to circumventing the Great Firewall, i.e. China’s internet censorship.
Though the police praised his patriotism, they also reprimanded him. “You should not jump over the wall at all,” an officer said.
After leaving the police station, Liu took another video. He cried in shock and said that he had been fined 3000 RMB (around US$465).
In response, Pa-chiong posted his own video making fun of Liu’s botched act of patriotism.
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