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China's Firebrand Editor, Known for Being a 'Troll King,' Is Retiring

 6 months ago
source link: https://www.insider.com/chinas-firebrand-editor-global-times-troll-king-retiring-2021-12
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China's 'king of trolls,' a newspaper editor known for being a nationalist firebrand voice for the Chinese Communist Party, is retiring

Hu Xijin, chief editor of Global Times, is known for his fiery, pro-Chinese Communist Party takes on international relations and domestic affairs alike. Simon Song/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

  • Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Chinese state-linked media outlet Global Times, is retiring.
  • Hu is one of China's most influential propagandist voices and is known for provocative takes.
  • Hu said on Weibo he would continue contributing to the Communist Party's news outreach.
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A Chinese firebrand editor known for his nationalist hot takes has made a surprise announcement that he is retiring.

Hu Xijin, best known for being editor-in-chief of the Chinese Communist Party-linked and state-run Global Times, made a brief post on Weibo, the country's version of Twitter, announcing his retirement. 

"After the New Year, I'll be 62 and will have arrived at my retirement age. I've handled the administrative work for my retirement, and will no longer be the editor-in-chief of the Global Times," Hu wrote on Weibo.

"However, I will from now on be a special commentator for the publication, and continue to contribute to the Global Times and do my best and give my utmost for the Communist Party's news outreach," Hu added. 

While 62 is around the average American retirement age, Hu has far surpassed China's average retirement age, 54

In the post, Hu also thanked his readers for their support, encouragement, and criticism. 

"My respect to everyone," he said, ending the post with an emoji representing a traditional Chinese salute. 

Hu is one of the most powerful voices of Chinese nationalism both inside and outside the country. In a December article on his dramatic ascent to power, The Guardian described Hu as China's "troll king" and the head of "a chest-thumpingly nationalistic tabloid sometimes described as 'China's Fox News,'" ever-ready to pick fights on behalf of the party. 

Some of Hu's most controversial opinions include a Twitter post he made in August, referencing jokes from Chinese web users that the power transition in Afghanistan was smoother than the presidential transition in the US.

At various points, Hu threatened war with the US and its allies, including Australia. In August, Hu seized on a typo by Sen. John Cornyn, where the latter mistakenly listed the US as having 30,000 troops in Taiwan. The Department of Defense lists only 30 active members of the military stationed in Taiwan. 

But in response to Cornyn's tweet, Hu wrote: "Now, the US and the Taiwan authorities must explain. If it is true that the US has 30,000, or less than that number, soldiers stationed on the Taiwan island, Chinese military forces will immediately launch a war to eliminate and expel the US soldiers." 

In November, Hu led efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to convince the world that tennis star Peng Shuai — who went missing after she accused top Party official Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault — was alive and well. Hu tweeted images of Peng playing with her cat, saying the tennis player "didn't want to be disturbed," claiming as well that Peng was staying at home "freely." His tweet on Peng was later re-tweeted by a swarm of fake propagandist Twitter accounts pushing the message that the tennis player was not in custody or in danger. 


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