This type of content is growing in volume and popularity: Inside China, many of these accounts have millions of followers. It helps that they’re continuously amplified by authorities and associated accounts across multiple platforms.

In the words of Chinese media scholar Zeng Qingxiang, the nation’s YouTubers, TikTok stars, and other wanghong (internet celebrities) are “guerrillas or militia,” fighting on the flanks in “the international arena of public opinion.” What we’re seeing is an ever-evolving information contest, where the borderlands are also the frontlines. 

By and

  • Daria Impiombato is an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
  • Hsi-ting Pai is a research intern at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.