Chinese state-linked Twitter accounts harass female journalists critical of PRC

On June 3, 2022, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) reported that a Chinese state-backed network of Twitter accounts called “Spamouflage” was targeting female journalists of Asian heritage working for western news outlets. It aimed to censor criticism of Beijing abroad. During several weeks, Twitter accounts of the New Yorker’s Jiayang Fan, the Economist’s Alice Su, the New York Times’ Muyi Xiao, and other journalists and China analysts, faced thousands of tweets calling them “traitors”.  These accounts attacked their physical appearance, questioned their credibility and the quality of their work, and, especially in the case of  Jiayang Fan, brought up intimate details of the journalists’ personal lives. ASPI identified and followed other activities similar to Spamouflage that took place over the course of several years across multiple platforms and languages. Twitter attributed the network to the Chinese government in 2019. Some of the accounts behind the harassment also shared topics aligning with the CCP’s narratives.

About This Incident

Incident Metadata

Date: 3 June 2022
Country: United States