hile news about Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protests used to be impossible to find on China’s social media, it has now become the topic trending topic on Weibo with Chinese censors evidently happy to give netizens a glimpse of the chaos that’s unfolding in the former British colony.
Just behind “Hong Kong” in trending topics at the moment is “Fu Guohao,” referring to a man who was beaten and tied up in the middle of Hong Kong’s airport by protesters who believed him to an undercover cop.
In a nearly unbelievable twist of fate, Fu is instead a reporter for China’s most notoriously nationalistic tabloid, the Global Times.
Fu Guohao, reporter of GT website is being seized by demonstrators at HK airport. I affirm this man being tied in this video is the reporter himself. He has no other task except for reporting. I sincerely ask the demonstrators to release him. I also ask for help of West reporters pic.twitter.com/sbFb0L3s92
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) August 13, 2019
Fu was suspected of being an imposter for carrying in his bag an “I love HK police” shirt of the type worn in the past by thugs who attacked protesters. While surrounded by demonstrators with his arms zip-tied above his head, he defended himself by exclaiming, “I support the Hong Kong police, you can beat me!”
Along with photos of his bruises, these words have gone viral on Weibo, given a red background and the subheading “What a shame for Hong Kong!”
Though China was once worried about videos of large-scale protests in Hong Kong finding their way onto the social media network, those concerns have obviously passed with clips of foreigners at the city’s airport complaining about travel delays being widely circulated, along with footage of protesters gathering in the airport, blocking travelers from departing, and tying up another man they suspected of being a mainland cop.
Comments underneath these posts praise Fu as a “hero” and condemn the protesters as “terrorists,” declaring that mainlanders should not travel anymore to “unsafe” and “scary” Hong Kong.