How WeChat galvanized Chinese Americans to rally behind ex-cop Peter Liang

Last weekend, a Chinese social media platform mobilized tens of thousands of Chinese Americans across the U.S. demanding justice for Peter Liang, a Chinese-American rookie NYPD officer, Los Angeles Times reports.

Protesters attend a rally in Brooklyn in support of former NYPD police officer Peter Liang

Protesters attend a rally in Brooklyn in support of former NYPD police officer Peter Liang

Normally, China’s Internet censors block such appeals for collective action. But this time, they did not bother since the protests were happening in the U.S.

China’s state-run news media followed the story closely.

Liang had “accidentally” shot dead an unarmed African American man, Akai Gurley, in a dark stairwell in a Brooklyn public housing complex in 2014. Recently, a court found him guilty of manslaughter.

In some previous cases, grand juries had declined to indict white police officers involved in such crimes and many who took part in Saturday’s protesters felt no help came to Liang because he happened to be member of a community that does not usually speak up.

What galvanized Chinese Americans into action on that day was WeChat or Weixin, a social media platform developed by the Chinese company Tencent and used primarily on smartphones. Read More



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