I half-expected the sort of unreflective vitriol and spleen-venting that saw me labelled a “white skinned pig” (baipizhu 白皮猪) on Baidu Teiba 百度贴吧 and suggested elsewhere that I allow “the nomadic, war-like and democratic lupine culture,” which I clearly worshipped, “to trample on the naked belly of my wife.” But what really surprised me were the hollow death threats—I received two such warnings—and the way these threads quickly slipped into the realm of bogus babble and absurd conspiracy theories.
Within hours of its translation, Hanwang members were already referring to my article as “the result of collusion between domestic tartars and Western Nazis.” This quickly led to extensive speculation about my ethnic heritage. Someone speculated that I was a Manchu sympathizer seeking to inflame Hanwang members. Noting that I was an academic in Australia, one blogger argued that my surname seemed German and the large number of Turkish migrants in Germany could help to explain my nomadic affinities. Others asserted that Leibold was actually a Muslim surname: “This tool is quite likely a Turk.” Another member piped in: “Although he is German, I bet he’s a minority,” and later asked: “Does anyone think that this guy has a Germanic demeanor?
The general argument is that this kind of stuff is particularly dangerous in an environment that restricts information, but it just looks like the same old crap to me, with the racial designations changed. And it's worth noting that the information management apparat seems keen to limit its scope and spread.
But if I ever do end up in China, 'representative of democratic lupine culture' will be on my business card.