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An Alternative Kind of Deplatforming


Naomi Wu

1,082 words

Recently, Naomi Wu’s story was brought to my attention on Twitter by Hank Oslo of the Myth of the 20th Century [2] podcast. Naomi Wu is a tech adept from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), living in Shenzhen. She does a bit of coding, but mainly focuses on building gadgetry, and she has invented things such as LED display hats that project images over your face to help circumvent the face detection software that has become ubiquitous in the urbanized parts of the rather autocratic PRC. What makes her interesting to a Western audience is that she does vlogs about her gadgets on YouTube, and until recently she maintained a Patreon account. She has, in her own words, the biggest English-language following of any PRC citizen. But in the eyes of the country’s Communist Party, she is on the cusp of being a Western subversive. This is because she advocates for gender equality and meritocracy in tech. Frankly, this doesn’t particularly interest me, being the patriarchically-minded autocrat that I am. But it did interest VICE News.

VICE News contacted Wu, requesting to interview her as part of a report on her activities. Wu agreed, but wanted to keep the conversation focused on what she does in tech circles (3D printing, inventing gadgetry, coding), because talking politics to a major Western media outlet might expose her to PRC repression. To this effect, both parties signed a written agreement. VICE News, being the peddlers of quality journalism that we in the Dissident Right have come to expect, of course broke the agreement and focused mainly on her feminist activities, attempting to “debunk” a conspiracy theory which claims that Wu is just a pretty face who does video presentations about projects that are actually being carried out by a white man with whom she is in a relationship.

This allegation of her being a feminist (terminology that Wu stringently avoids, as it is a no-no term in China), combined with the notion that she might be a mouthpiece for some Westerner, would mark her as a clear agent of Western ideological subversion, which can get you quickly unpersoned and sent to a reeducation camp in China. Just ask the Uighurs, who are often accused of spreading subversive Islamist ideas, or the Chinese Christians, who are facing increased political repression. Wu was obviously not pleased and protested their decision, but the report presenting her as a proud feminist fighting Chinese tech’s patriarchy was released over her objections. Wu then spent several months gathering social media support and attacking VICE, at one point threatening to doxx its editor.

Here enters a character with whom we are familiar on the Dissident Right: Sarah Jeong [3], formerly of VICE, currently of The New York Times – and a committed anti-white activist. She is infamous for her tweets declaring her hatred for white people and their opinions. As Wu herself has pointed out, Jeong, quite hypocritically, only dates white men. Jeong was assigned the job of discrediting Naomi Wu’s claims that VICE had knowingly put her in danger, being the resident Asian. Jeong was born in South Korea, but left when she was only 3, and has only been back once on holiday in her entire adult life. That is the limit of her knowledge of both South Korea and Asia. Jeong opined that conditions in the PRC aren’t as bad as Wu claims, because she is familiar with South Korea and free speech is quite safe there. This is a rather strong indictment of the press’ relationship with reality, if not of their commitment to the truth. The New York Times subsequently published a video attacking Wu as being too feminine and sexualized, accusing her of only making vlogs to milk men for money, thus betraying the feminist cause. This could be true – milking betas for money is an established business model for Western women, after all.

VICE and The New York Times managed to get Wu kicked off of Patreon during their campaign, forcing her to quit activism and take a job coding instead. Wu has not been able to find alternative ways to obtain funding since then. PayPal and Bitcoin are blocked in China, as are GoFundMe and other sponsorship sites. For a time, Wu set up shop on SubscribeStar, but it was deplatformed by PayPal and MasterCard because Sargon of Akkad had migrated there after being banned by Patreon. And this is what initially attracted my attention. On one hand, her otherwise unrelated story ties in with some Dissident Right figures. On the other, she is facing the same deplatforming and media attacks that we are – funnily enough, from the same media companies.

I don’t much care about Naomi Wu as a person or her activism. She is a subversive element in China; she is attempting to spread feminist gender equality there. She is also a transhumanist, a philosophy I personally despise for its anti-human nature. But while I am uninterested in her fate, I find it ironic that the very same Social Justice Commissariat that is supposed to champion these ideas and its proponents is behind her persecution. It shows that profit motive is far more powerful to them than their supposed ideology. This is the neoliberal aspect of the ruling ideology showing itself: if they come under fire from their own side, they will deplatform and defund them, too.

Naomi Wu’s story ties in neatly with other recent stories of media dishonesty and harassment. The Covington Boys of course spring to mind, as does the story Buzzfeed made up out of whole cloth about Donald Trump instructing his personnel to lie to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And now these dishonest journalists themselves are being laid off en masse, with over a thousand journalists being fired this week alone. So it is quite ironic that VICE would force Wu into a coding career – a job many of them may soon have to take themselves.

It is not only we who are facing these issues, but dissidents of any kind who do not perfectly align with the ruling neoliberal, Cultural Marxist agenda. It is therefore perhaps possible that a broader coalition consisting of more than simply the Dissident Right could be formed in an attempt to get some kind of alternative payment platform going. That coalition might not last, but as financing is one of the biggest constraints we face, if we can find a way to solve it, we will be that much closer to advancing our agenda.