Hidden Corners of Chinese Dissents——r/chonglangTV

(WARNING: May include racism and other unpleasant contents in the following!)

Under China’s intense speech censorship and online surveillance, there is less and less room for public discourse. In this case, some people will choose overseas platforms and forums as their new’ home’. The sub r/chonglangTV in Reddit is such a place for these dissents. It has become one of the most popular Chinese subs on Reddit. Gathering together under the banner of anti-China and -Chinese Communist Party, most of them are from the Chinese-speaking region, including the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Also holding the criticism of the ignorant attributes ingrained in Chinese culture(they called ‘支性, ‘Shina-ness, an offensive word for Chinese), they share memes, images, stories, jokes, and fun videos in this sub. Some of them could be NSFW (not safe for work) contents. All the things are to fight against the cruelty of the real world. 

The name of this sub, chonglang, comes from a famous Japanese painting of The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai. Also, the meaning of the phrase ‘chonglang’ in Chinese is surfing. Therefore, it can refer to both sea surfing and web surfing. Members of the sub have many self-proclaimed code names, such as 鼠人(Ratman), as they think the rats live under the ground, out of sight, which is very similar to the living situation of many of them, they have a sense of empathy with them, 浪人(Ronins), derived from ‘chonglang’ directly, and 神友 (Friend of Kanagawa). Because they were dissatisfied with the status quo in China and the Chinese Communist Party, they naturally showed their desire to emigrate to foreign countries, especially Northern Europe and Japan. 

Unlike other Chinese online sites, in this sub, all things could be just for fun, and their post all have a sense of irony and playfulness, based on one standard: try their best to achieve 节目效果 (dramatic effects), which means a kind of black humor to some extent. One funny case of this is the meme-ization of a historical icon——Zhang XianZhong. He was a peasant revolt and rebellion leader in the late Ming Dynasty and carried out a massacre in Sichuan, China. Therefore he becomes synonymous with random indiscriminate killings in China. 

The climate in this place has a streak contrast with 品葱 (Pincong), another online forum gathering Chinese dissents using more serious tones to discuss China’s global political and diplomatic affairs. Similarly, chonglang-ers treat the user from r/gendezong, and r/sino with disdain and the same attitudes towards r/China_irl, another big sub for Chinese, as the positions of these people are in line with the CCP and contrary to the chonglang-ers.