Fang Fang and her followers criticized for weaponizing netizen's post to create biased narrative

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/15 15:44:23

Fang Fang Photo: File

Fang Fang, who became famous and controversial for publishing her "Wuhan Diary," is in hot water again on Chinese social media after she reposted part of an article from a coronavirus patient's daughter to reinforce her doomsday narrative, which was criticized by the daughter and many netizens. 

The daughter, surnamed Li, who beat a metal basin at her balcony amid the lockdown to attract attention and save her infected mother in early February, posted two articles about her experience on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on April 20.  

Li wrote about overwhelmed patients and bed shortages in the early days in the first article, and about how everything gradually returned to normal in the second. She also thanked people who had helped her, including doctors and nurses, community workers and netizens who passed on her story and tried to find a bed for her mother. Fang Fang was not among those thanked. 

Some 20 days later on May 11, before International Nurses Day, Fang Fang reposted Li's first article and commented that Wuhan residents' struggles and ordinary people's mutual assistance should be memorialized. But Li was not happy that only part of her story had been published, saying that causes a biased narrative. She wrote, "Do not use our experiences as weapons (to attack others), that is the biggest disrespect to the sick and their families." 

Li also re-edited the two articles into one long article to give a balanced portrayal of what happened. But she was then attacked by Fang Fang's followers who said she was ungrateful. Netizens who did not know the ins and outs of the situation were now set against Li. The conflict between Fang Fang and Li was thus replaced by conflict between Li and many netizens.

The incident continued to ferment, bringing Li to reply again on Wednesday, saying her articles were her real experience, not hearsay, and criticizing Fang Fang for dragging her to the wrath of her fervid followers. 

Hearsay is typical in Fang Fang's Wuhan Diary, which some regard as truthful records while others criticize distorted facts that create doomsday scenarios. 

"Finally someone stood up to protest against Fang Fang's hearsay. I guess she did not dare to name a single person in her diary because she knew they would protest her misrepresentation of conversations," a netizen said on Weibo. 

"It is obvious that Fang Fang's followers were trying to weaponize Li and her experience to emphasize how chaotic and desperate the early days of the epidemic were. They do not allow positive or cheerful narratives because what they want to portray is not a fact-based record of history, but a 'testimony' to attack the government and the system," said another Weibo user. 

"After her repost which began the whole online spat, Fang Fang herself appeared to play the innocent party and avoided the controversy as though her only part in causing it had been a repost. She's really tactical," one netizen said. 

Global Times 

Posted in: SOCIETY

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