The 2016 U.S. presidential election brought attention to right-wing Chinese Americans effectively using WeChat to spread strident and divisive messages, conspiracy theories, and disinformation among Chinese-language speakers.
This year, unfounded conspiracy theories made their way into hundreds of thousands of chat groups on WeChat again. Chinese supporters of Donald Trump who follow pro-Trump platforms believe the lies that the election was a fraud and that Hunter Biden is a pedophile who has molested many girls in China. A media network associated with the billionaire Guo Wengui and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon was among the chief sources of false stories about the Biden family and their business dealings in China. But unlike in 2016, liberal Chinese voices have taken up the WeChat battleground to counterbalance right-wing conspiracy content, engaging a monolingual audience that’s part of a fast-growing minority bloc with the ability to possibly determine the outcome of future U.S. elections.