How Twitter’s “Teacher Li” became the center of Chinese protest information

It’s hard to describe the emotion that followed. It’s like everyone is coming to you and all kinds of information from all over the world is approaching you and [people are] I’m telling you: What’s going on here?; Hey, what’s going on there?; you know, this is what happened in guangzhou; I’m in Wuhan, Wuhan does this; I’m in Beijing and I follow the big group and I walk together. Suddenly all the real-time information is presented to me and I don’t know how to describe the feeling. But there was no time to think about that.

My heart was beating really fast and my hands and brain were constantly switching between various software programs – because you know, you can’t record videos with the web version of Twitter. So I was constantly switching software, editing the video, exporting it, and then sharing it on Twitter. [Editor’s note: Li adds subtitles, blocks out account information, and compiles shorter videos into one.] In the end, there was no time to edit videos anymore. If someone had taken a 12-second WeChat video and posted it, I would have used it as is. This much.

I bought the biggest amount [private messages] Sunday night around 18:00. At that time, there were many people on the street in China’s five major cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuhan and Guangzhou. So basically I was getting a dozen private messages every second. In the end, I couldn’t even scan the information anymore. I saw it, clicked it, and posted it if it was worth sharing.

People from all over the country tell me their real-time status. So that no more people are in danger [protest] they sent me the sites themselves and what’s going on there. For example, some followers were cycling near the presidential palace in Nanjing, taking pictures and telling me about the situation in the city. Then they asked me to inform everyone to be cautious. I think it’s a really moving thing.

It was as if I was slowly becoming an announcer sitting in a television studio, receiving endless information from on-scene reporters all over the country. For example, on Monday, five or six people were simultaneously informing me of the latest news in Hangzhou. But when the police evacuated the venue, a break was made as they all fled.

On the importance of staying objective

There are a lot of tweets embellishing the truth. From their point of view, they think this is the right thing to do. They think that for a riot to happen, you have to maximize anger. But for me, I think we need reliable information. We need to know what’s really going on, and that’s the most important thing. If we were doing this for emotion, I would really be part of the “alien influence” in the end, wouldn’t I?

But if there’s a news account that can record objectively, real-time, and accurately what’s going on outside of China, then people inside the Great Firewall will no longer be suspicious. At the moment, in this rather extreme situation of constant news blackout, having an account that can continue to broadcast news from all over the country at the rate of almost a tweet every few seconds is actually a morale booster for everyone.

The Chinese grow up with patriotism, so they become shy or do not dare to say anything directly or directly oppose something. So the crowd was singing the national anthem and waving the red flag, the national flag. [during protests]. You must understand that the Chinese has patriotic. Even when asking for something [from the government]They do it with this feeling.

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