[Epoch Times, June 22, 2022](The Epoch Times reporter Chen Ting comprehensive report) An Australian think tank warns that Asian female journalists covering Chinese politics and human rights have become a new target of the CCP’s transnational digital crackdown. Every time they publish an article The article may have to face hundreds of cyber attacks, including various verbal insults, threats of violence and sexual assault.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) noted in a report (link) that prominent journalists and other analysts covering China in Western media, human rights activists, etc. Sustained and coordinated large-scale cyber information attacks”, with Asian female journalists facing the most severe slurs.
The women included prominent journalists at The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Times, The Guardian, Quartz and other media, the report noted.
ASPI analysis shows that the large number of fake accounts behind this operation is likely to be another “Spamouflage” attack by the CCP.
Spamouflage is a combination of the English words “spam or post” (Spam) and “camouflage” (Camouflage). Graphika, an independent web analytics firm, has pointed out that this is a pro-CCP propaganda network active on major social media platforms. In 2019, Twitter identified the network as an information operation supported by the Chinese authorities (Link）。
“Hundreds of accounts on the network were created specifically to target these women, some targeting one woman and some targeting multiple women,” the report said. In addition, there are many accounts that originally cooperated with the CCP to carry out publicity and spread false information. Recently, they have also started to attack these women.
The latest attack, which will be in both English and Chinese, includes a series of psychological abuse, harassment, mass taunts and threats.
ASPI noted that some attacks appear more targeted, often involving personal privacy.
“The content is tailored to their personal circumstances, relating to their work and personal lives. This requires extensive monitoring of targeted individuals,” the report said.
The women have been accused of being traitors, liars and betraying their “motherland,” even though many of them were born overseas and never held Chinese citizenship. The accounts also attacked their appearance, questioning their credibility and the quality of their work, some of which included strong sexism, misogyny and racist attacks, saying they would “die well” and more.
ASPI believes that the lack of countermeasures by social media platforms and the governments of these women’s countries has allowed the operators of these attacks to continually add fake accounts and recklessly use the same tactics.
“On April 15 alone, 54 accounts were created. Twitter appears to have taken down some, but not all, accounts since we collected this data,” the report reads.
The report pointed out that there is a lot of evidence that the operators of these attacks may be located in China. For example, the text of many tweets contains double-byte characters commonly used in Chinese fonts. ASPI also found that “most of the attacks were carried out during business hours in Beijing, where account activity was much lower during the April 30-May 4 holiday period in China“.
ASPI warns that such attacks are escalating. Some well-known journalists, within 24 hours of writing their stories, attracted more than 500 offensive tweets from more than 100 different accounts.
“Over the past five years, the CCP’s online information capabilities have often relied on quantity rather than quality, but this has changed, and neither the government nor social media platforms have been able to keep up,” the report states. “Social platforms need an urgent shift in thinking. …take a more proactive and proactive stance.”
The think tank warned that the CCP’s propaganda network is “expanding its scope and objectives, continuously increasing its information toolbox, and growing faster than it was a year or two ago.”
“Platforms and governments need to work together to build the necessary infrastructure, capabilities and deterrence to counter cyber-supported foreign interference and digital transnational oppression,” ASPI said.
Responsible editor: Ye Ziwei#