180,000 Chinese Translators Batter Xi Jinping's Propaganda Machinery
When a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima in March 2011, Chinese social media was filled with comments celebrating the prospect of a disaster and wishing the Japanese to "die."
Photo Insert: President Xi Jinping of China responded to GTM by calling it "a virus that insults China."
And almost immediately, translations of the comments appeared in Japanese and English, made by a loose collection of people, the majority of whom were Chinese, in order to expose the rest of the world to the types of viewpoints expressed in China.
The Great Translation Movement (GTM) aims to reveal the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) manipulation of public opinion, according to its participants.
President Xi Jinping of China responded to GTM by calling it "a virus that insults China." GTM aims to encourage the Chinese people to reconsider their mindset of disregarding human rights and tolerating dictatorship.
"Unless Chinese authorities stop hate-filled propaganda and Chinese netizens discontinue silly comments that support acts of aggression the GTM will not end," a GTM member with the alias Wang said.
China released a statement late in February that appeared to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine, stating that Moscow's "reasonable concern was understandable." It was quickly followed by insulting remarks about Ukraine, such as "Let's adopt Ukrainian beauties" and "Instant death to Ukraine."
Infuriated by Beijing's stance, many Chinese took the initiative to translate the comments into English for worldwide distribution via the U.S. social news aggregation website Reddit, paving the path for the birth of the GTM.
The campaign captured the attention of the international media, as the translated messages were viewed as showing China's true attitudes, which were concealed by its external propaganda.
The translations exacerbated anti-China sentiment in Ukraine, and the international community assumed China supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Members of the GTM realized the potency of the translations and how they may shatter the false image of China as a peaceful and welcoming nation.
The GTM community on Reddit, which served as its hub, had more than 50,000 members when it was shut down in March due to the release of personal information. With the GTM's migration to Twitter, the platform has become a forum for individuals dissatisfied with the CCP's manipulation of public opinion and authoritarianism; many of these individuals publish messages with the hashtag #TheGreatTranslationMovement.
There are currently close to 180,000 followers.