Chinese Are Slaughtered In A War Of Memes & Politics
BANGKOK, Thailand -- A vicious, hilarious, political war has erupted on the Internet between Thailand's satirical dissidents and China's outraged nationalists, prompting the Chinese embassy in Bangkok to complain, apparently in vain.
"The recent online noises only reflect bias and ignorance of its maker(s), which does not in any way represent the standing stance of the Thai government nor the mainstream public opinion of the Thai People," a Chinese embassy spokesperson insisted on its official Facebook page.
"The scheme by some particular people, to manipulate the issue for the purpose of inflaming and sabotaging the friendship between the Chinese and Thai people, will not succeed," the embassy's 372-word statement on April 14 said in English, Thai and Chinese.
The Internet battle also attracted activists in Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere, mostly cheering Thailand's mischievous jokes, insults, political stabs, and pop art memes against China.
"Perhaps we can build a new kind of pan-Asian solidarity that opposes all forms of authoritarianism!" wrote Hong Kong's famous pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong.
Wong urged people to "stand with our freedom-loving Thai friends".
Beyond the hatred spewed by trolls on all sides, the most imaginative chatter spiraled around attempts to promote democracy in Thailand and China.
Thais ingeniously absorbed the punches of pro-Beijing defenders, who thought they were winning by mocking Thailand's repressive political system.
Chinese rants against Bangkok's politics unveiled the Thais' strongest weapons -- self-deprecating jokes.
Thais agreed with Chinese badmouthing Bangkok's lackluster leaders -- which ultimately seemed to defeat the Chinese.
"Looking back, Thailand doesn't seem to have any great history," someone identified as Daheee tweeted, implying China's ancient civilization was more profound.
"Yeah we dont have history and we dont have any future too," GyGyfightCovid responded, defusing the Chinese comparison by agreeing that Thailand's military coups and current lopsided elected government were not ideal.
More to the point, memes jokingly quoted the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) saying: "Your Government Sucks."
An anonymous Thai responded: "SAY IT LOUDER."
"CCP: Your prime minister stupid"
"Thai: Yes, He is, thank you"
Other posts were totally street:
"How much is it for your mother to sleep with a white man for one night?" a Chinese tweeter asked Thais.
Pax @pattanan1402 replied: "Much more expensive than the Chinese that i fucked."
"CCP: you lady man country"
"Thai: It gets better with dick"
Citizens of various countries around the world, including Asia, often battle each other online such as the insanely twisted clashes between Hindus in India and Muslims in Pakistan.
More obscurely, Lao-American males sometimes taunt and denounce Caucasians who lust for females from Laos and elsewhere in eastern Asia.
The Internet's newest war is symbolized by nnevvy, the Instagram nickname for a Thai model, Weeraya Sukaram.
Chinese netizens vented anger that she allegedly retweeted a claim that China spawned COVID-19 and silenced investigators.
To intentionally flood the Internet, someone added a hashtag to her nickname, creating the uncontrollable #nnevvy which could then be seen on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other sites and publicly commented upon.
When the online feud evolved into Thais describing Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries, instead of united with China, the verbal abuse by Chinese and Thais went ballistic.
"Both sides attacked each other's governments, political systems, music, hygiene, looks, races, foods, ethnicities, freedom -- or lack thereof -- you name it," Thailand-based columnist Voranai Vanijaka reported.
"Of the over two million tweets on #nnevvy, the majority are riddled with anger, but look carefully and you will find voices from both sides that speak out for freedom," Voranai said.
As of April 16, the Chinese embassy's statement had attracted more than 17,000 responses on Facebook and countless more on Twitter.
One popular response, in English and Chinese, exposed China's lack of free speech by listing politicized words that Beijing censored online:
"Free Tibet, The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, The Tiananmen Square Massacre, The Anti-Rightist Struggle, The Great Leap Forward, The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Human Rights, Democratization, Freedom, Independence, Multi-party system, Taiwan Formosa, Republic of China, Tibet, Dalai Lama, Falun Dafa, The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo, Winnie the Pooh."
That last phrase confused Akun Kebrayoran Pop who asked: "Winnie the Pooh?"
Yenni Kwok clarified: "Winnie the Pooh is the nickname for [China's leader] Xi Jinping"
Akun responded: "And the government recognize that to the point they ban that word?"
A complex American-made meme which had circulated online for years -- and always uses a cartoon template comparing a "The Virgin" and "The Chad" -- was quickly updated to satirize the Chinese-Thai brawl.
The cartoon portrayed a skinny, obedient, pro-Beijing Chinese man wearing China's national flag as an armband, compared to a muscular, carefree Thai man wearing a T-shirt with colored stripes of his country's flag.
The cartoon said the Chinese man's "CCP memes are unoriginal like counterfeit chinese goods" and believes "Democracy is flawed! while thinking communism is flawless."
The Virgin Chinese also complains of "racism, but is ok with forcing African people to quarantine for no reason" and becomes "Butthurt over anything that insults China."
The "proud Thai" meanwhile has a "Good sense of humor," "Can form their own opinions," "Delivers firey insults," and "Doesn't give a shit about any insults thrown over their government or country."
The Chad Thai is also "well educated about their government's crimes," "Stands with Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uygur, and Tibet," and "Isn't paid to hate CCP."
One Thai post tried to clarify the root of the problem and said the quotes that sparked the war "didn't actually say that Covid is from Wuhan's lab nor China is intentionally make the virus.
"The tweet just pointed out how many kinds of viruses are kept in Wuhan's lab, and just raised a question that before blaming US's for the covid, they should allow Wuhan's lab to be investigated so the tweet hasn't concluded anything yet."
Richard S. Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist from San Francisco, California, reporting news from Asia since 1978 and winner of Columbia University's Foreign Correspondent's Award. He co-authored three non-fiction books about Thailand including "'Hello My Big Big Honey!' Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews," "Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946," and "60 Stories of Royal Lineage." Mr. Ehrlich also contributed to the chapter "Ceremonies and Regalia" in a book published in English and Thai titled, "King Bhumibol Adulyadej, A Life's Work: Thailand's Monarchy in Perspective."
Mr. Ehrlich's "Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask & President Akimbo" portrays a 22-year-old American female mental patient who is abducted to Asia by her abusive San Francisco psychiatrist. His newest nonfiction book is "Rituals, Killers, Wars. & Sex. -- Tibet, India, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka & New York" available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086Y7D48L
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