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Tension Between Hong Kong and China Continue to Spill Into Cyber-Space

China/Hong Kong: As protests and rioting in Hong Kong continue over the Chinese government’s involvement in affairs in Hong Kong, the unrest is beginning to spill over into cyber-space.  A number of pro-Chinese online actors began putting plans in place to spam forums utilized by members of the protesters to coordinate their efforts.  The goal was to disrupt the protesters’ ability to coordinate their members and pass information about police movements to counter the protests.  Before their attack on the users could be launched, the protesters and their supporters launched a counter-attack.  The supporters of the protests had doxed the supporters of the Chinese government.  Their counter-attack did not end with a simple dox–the group then used the details they had obtained to submit forms signing a number of the Chinese supporters up for “arduous task force” service in the Chinese military.  They also reported many of the victims’ religion to be “Islam.” In China, followers of Islam are regularly harassed by police while also being the subject of extensive surveillance.  Being the subject of government surveillance in China is especially scary for many right now, following the sentencing of China’s first “Cyber- dissident” who was sentenced to 12 years in jail for exposing sensitive government information. Those who were doxed were already placed in a precarious situation as the forums they were discovered on were supposed to be blocked from Chinese citizens by government censorship.  This makes all of those who were doxed guilty of what the Chinese government refers to as “climbing the wall.”  Civil unrest and protests are increasingly crossing over into cyber-space, typically on the part of pro-government actors, representing yet another way that real-life actions are heavily linked to cyber-activities.