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'Fake patriotism' stunt wastes public resources

By Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-29 08:07
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Nobel laureate Mo Yan address the 2023 Forum on International Communication of Chinese Culture on Sept 22 in Beijing. CHINA DAILY

A man using an IP address registered in Hebei province has recently posted some screenshots on a major Chinese micro blog platform showing some files the user has prepared for charging Mo Yan, a Chinese laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, with "insulting Chinese revolutionary heroes and martyrs", "belittling the Chinese people", "glorifying Japanese invaders", etc in some of his novels.

Meanwhile, he also organized an online survey inviting people to show their attitude toward the charge. He shared online dozens of paragraphs and sentences from Mo's works to justify and support his appeal.

Although lawyers say the possibility of the court officially filing his charge as a civil case is quite low — he didn't disclose whether the files have been accepted by the court or the case has been filed at last — the incident itself is a farce from the very beginning.

After being attacked as a network stunt tapping into Mo's popularity, the person orchestrating the whole thing responded that he is doing what a "patriot" should do in a rule-of-law society to protect the motherland as well as those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

The post record of his account on the platform shows the number of followers surged markedly in recent days, hitting about 210,000, thanks to the heated discussion on Mo's novels the posts have triggered. Also the account's previous posts were mostly about populism-related topics, urging the Chinese people to be wary of the penetration of hostile and anti-China forces of various forms from home and abroad.

Although the poster has the right to see if a court will accept a lawsuit against Mo on that charge, the way he chose to publicize his move proves it is only creating a public fuss, which, if successful, can transform him from a nobody to a "cyberspace celebrity", though short-lived.

He introduces himself as a "writer", but most authors hold an inclusive attitude toward literary works. Their analyses always shun deliberate misinterpretation of specific parts of a work or taking parts out of context to prove a point.

Given the effective management of China's publishing industry and the Chinese readers' picky tastes, the poster is speculating for publicity, rather than representing the general view of the public. The platform companies are obliged to screen such "fake patriotism" gimmicks, which are a waste of public resources.


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