Don’t talk back to your father – online anti-Taiwanese independence nationalist discourse

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    Abstract

    On January 20, 2016, an army of Chinese internet users scaled the Great Firewall to leave pro-China and anti-independence messages on the Facebook profile of the newly elected Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-Wen. The attack was organized through an online discussion forum called Diba under the slogan of ‘Diba goes to battle’ (帝吧出征), and led to over 40,000 comments on an innocuous post about a recent meeting between Tsai Ing-wen and her political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (Sison, 2016). The onslaught was carefully choreographed and the organizers had stressed the need to keep a civil tone in the comments and only attack the idea of Taiwanese independence – not the Taiwanese people themselves. However, some of the themes emerging from the huge number of posts did indeed cross this line and spoke to old grievances on both sides of the strait. Many posts claimed that Taiwan is very small and has no culture of its own, as everything Taiwanese is originally from China or in some cases even Japan, thereby completely ignoring Taiwan’s aboriginal culture. Others simply posted pictures of delicious food or beautiful scenery from the mainland, 1 apparently with the idea of showing the Taiwanese what they were missing. Taiwanese internet users responded in kind with posts criticizing mainland China and playing on stereotypes of mainland China as dirty, uncivilized, and crowded, or commenting on how Chinese internet users had to come to Taiwan to experience freedom of speech (Huanqiu, 2016). The title of this chapter stems from one of the memes 2 emerging from this onslaught, ‘Don’t talk back to your father’ [不要跟爸爸顶嘴] referring to the presumed familial and hierarchical relationship between Taiwan and mainland China. The meme has since been used for other international incidents where Chinese nationalists reacted to smaller nations like the Philippines behaving disrespectfully towards China in a manner not befitting their inferior status, thereby becoming an exponent of what is sometimes called China’s filial nationalism (Fong, 2004: 641).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis
    EditorsChris Shei
    Number of pages11
    PublisherRoutledge
    Publication date24 Jan 2019
    Edition1st edition
    Chapter27
    ISBN (Print)9780415789790
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315213705
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019

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