Doxxing and Online Harassment


Hi all, 

This is Ye Charlotte Ming 明晔, a freelance journalist and photo editor based in Berlin, Germany.  

As a woman in journalism, dealing with sexism and misogyny in and outside the industry is a daily reality. That’s especially the case online, where women journalists are disproportionately affected by harassment and abuse. When readers disagree with our coverage, the criticism is frequently directed at our gender and ethnicity but not at the work itself. 

Last week, a Twitter user created a photo collage targeting women journalists. In following tweets, he suggested that Chinese women work in liberal Western media because they crave the power and prestige of these organizations, and most of them marry white men. Separately, after reporter Han Zhang revealed in her explosive New Yorker article about how College Daily manufactured sensational and sometimes made-up content for Chinese overseas students, College Daily’s editorial board published an article spreading conspiracy theories about Zhang (and misidentified her).

In this issue’s Rock the Boat, we will discuss the problem that deeply affects women journalists and offer tips about how to secure your digital self.

Ye Charlotte Ming 明晔


Best work from our members. 

💻🔋Refuge for Chinese 996ers 
Photographer Yan Cong 丛妍 captures for The Washington Post the tranquility of the Buddhist Academy in Hangzhou, where stressed-out Chinese tech workers escape to wind down the cosmopolitan speed. 

(Photo credit: Yan Cong for The Washington Post)

🔴📺How Propaganda Prevails
In a Washington Post analysis, media scholar Kecheng Fang 方可成 breaks down Beijing’s censorship and misinformation campaign against the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. This piece explains how China’s propaganda system proactively produces and disseminates information and why Chinese people believe it. 

👧⌨️#The Fangirls’ Crusade  
In mid-August, celebrities’ social media accounts became the new battleground for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Some Chinese netizens, heavily influenced by China’s fangirl culture, mobilized against the Hong Kong protesters in an online campaign over the Great Firewalls, flooding Twitter and Instagram with patriotic messages and emojis. Quartz’s Youyou Zhou 周优游 explains this phenomenon. 

🎥🤬Rage at Hollywood Representations
The casting decisions for Marvel’s Shang Qi, Disney’s Mulan and Little Mermaid received negative responses in China: some audience were displeased or even offended. Loud Murmurs podcast, hosted by Afra Wang 王曌, Diaodiao Yang, and Ling Zhang, discusses how Chinese audiences react to the increasingly diversified representations in Hollywood. 

✊✊A Fight That Lasts
Hangda Zhang 张航达
shares insights into how Hong Kong demonstrators stay organized as the protests drag on and what motivates them in two-part video stories for AJ+. 

♹🥬Going Zero-Waste 
In a Goodthread video, reporter Venus Wu 伍穎渝 and videographer Beimeng Fu 傅蓓梦 delve into China’s mounting trash problem and the challenges in tackling them through the eyes of a zero-waste activist, a garbage disposal worker, and a young designer. 

🤼🤼Wrestler, Plumber, Father 
Caught up in the Soviet Union’s collapse, a famed wrestling champion left Uzbekistan and became a plumber in Queens, N.Y. Now, he is nurturing his son’s own sporting career. Wufei Yu 余物非 tells their stories for Eurasia. 

⚖️🏛️Silenced in Court 
Kimberly Jin 金彦伯
writes for In This Times about how a shortage of court interpreters in Cook County, IL. is leaving non-English speakers without adequate legal support. 


Thoughts from our members and beyond on topics about the media industry, diversity and more.

In recent weeks, many Chinese women journalists, including members of Chinese Storytellers, have received abusive attacks and doxxing threats on social media for their coverage on several news events and for working for international media outlets. 

Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, a journalist and standup comic, was targeted by Chinese students in Sydney after covering their rally opposing the Hong Kong protest. Despite the experience, Xu emphasizes the importance of sympathy and dialogue in a time of political polarization:

When my article went up...rape threats, death threats, and doxxing ensued. It was a devastating experience to have to translate the language of the trolls in order to expose them. Hate to admit, but some of the insults, especially those [directed] at my parents, got to me. However, amid calls for the deportation of the rally attendees and trolls—many of [them students] from mainland China—I want to remind all that people are capable of reflection, change and growth. I know because I was once an angry nationalist, too.

The young students are victims of a system designed to indoctrinate them since the moment they learn how to read, or think. Rather than being fearful of them, supporters of human rights and democracy should embrace the opportunity to understand them, engage and educate them.

Our member Isabelle Niu, a video journalist at Quartz, explained that some of the online attacks against Chinese women journalists are both racist and sexist:

The doxxing of female Chinese journalists is misogynistic in nature. In that particular case, the uses of phrases like “journothot” and the emphasis on “probably dating white men” show this has little to do with our actual work. Women journalists working outside the U.S. and freelancers are particularly vulnerable. We need to speak out and get them the institutional support to help them do their job.

Jin Ding 丁进, communications and inclusion manager at the Pulitzer Center, said that online harassment is often cross-platforms and connected to offline violence. When harassed online or seeing others being harassed, follow these tips: 

Document everything and know your rights in case you need to build a case; don’t be afraid to speak out but sometimes it is safer to not engage; Look out for other people; Find a group like Chinese Storytellers for your mental health support.

Zhaoyin Feng 冯兆音, a BBC journalist, said that online foodprints can hardly be wiped out but journalists can take steps to make their digital identities safer:

Separate public and private social media accounts, and keep the private accounts strictly private — Don't add anyone whom you have not met in real life as a connection. Make sure all your posts are limited to "friends only.” Even in private accounts, think thrice before you post personal information. Use different profile pictures, handles and register emails on different social media platforms. Googling yourself may sound narcissistic, but it's highly useful to see what information about you is available and can be used against you.

Tag @CNstorytellers on Twitter to keep the conversation going.


We recognize our members’ professional achievements (and flatter them).

🥂🥂Have Two Toasts: our member Youyou Zhou 周优游 and her colleague Ana Campoy at Quartz made finalists in two Online Journalism Award categories for their investigative work on Hurricane Maria. 

🍿📽️Doc Screening: Our member Yuhong Pang 庞玉红's documentary "She's Not a Boy" screened at the Idlewild International Film Fest on August 24 and at NewFilmmakersNY on August 28 (today!). The film follows the journey of Tatenda Ngwaru, an intersex woman from Zimbabwe, after she moved to the U.S. to embrace her identity.

🥂 Tell us what makes you proud via email, Slack or Twitter.


Jobs, gigs, grants, fellowships, etc.

NBC Universal is looking for a Camera Operator. It is an independent operation role that provides first-hand field Electronic News Gathering (ENG) camera support including basic video editing within mainland China for live and long-form taped programming. - [Beijing]

The World Press Photo Foundation and MIAP, the Message in a Photo foundation, kicked off an initiative to promote and produce visual journalism with a solution.

The Frontline Club Awards seek to recognize new emerging talents and established names who have shown integrity, courage, and independence of spirit in their work. 

Channel News Asia is looking for an editor for a 48-minute documentary. Applicants should have experience editing long-form stories with a social focus, and familiar with FCP X. The gig lasts from now to October. Send reels and resume to - [Tianjin]

Find more on the #opportunities channel on Slack.

Writer: Ye Charlotte Ming; Editor: Afra Wang;Copy Editor: Isabelle Niu

Chinese Storytellers is a community that empowers Chinese non-fiction content creators. Follow us @CNStorytellers. Questions? Suggestions? Comments? Tell us.