C, a mainland Chinese person in their late 20s who lives and works in Hong Kong, was stunned by the response after they shared some words of encouragement for the city’s protesters on their personal Facebook page.
“My post expressed my discomfort at seeing some mainlanders cheering reports that protesters had been beaten up by gangsters during the demonstrations, and I said incidents like this should be thoroughly investigated,” C told Quartz. “The next thing I knew was that a college classmate of mine had taken a screenshot of that post and shared it to a mainland Chinese website.”
Luckily for C, the screenshot was not widely shared and did not cause too much of an impact on C’s daily life. But a mainland Chinese artist who lives outside of the country was less fortunate. The artist, who asked to be identified as “Ren,” received “a wave of hate speech and harassment” from users of various Chinese social media platforms, after one of Ren’s high-school classmates shared Ren’s Facebook post criticising police brutality in Hong Kong. Both C and Ren requested anonymity out of fear for their personal safety.