Wangbao (Cyberbullying) and Jubao (Reporting): Collaborative State-Society Online Influence Operations in China

Supplementary Files



Influence operations
strategic ambiguity


How to Cite

Fang, K. (2024). Wangbao (Cyberbullying) and Jubao (Reporting): Collaborative State-Society Online Influence Operations in China. Journal of Online Trust and Safety, 2(3).


This study introduces the concept of “strategically ambiguous collaborative influence operations” to examine the phenomena of wangbao (cyberbullying) and jubao (reporting) in China. These operations involve the intertwined efforts of state and non-state actors to suppress critical voices in the online sphere. They are characterized by the strategic use of ambiguity in the state-society relationship, which enables flexibility, adaptability, and plausible deniability for the state. The study combines an analysis of secondary materials on selected cases, interviews, and a survey to argue that several features of China’s political system facilitate the ambiguity associated with these operations. Focusing on the victims’ perceptions, this study identifies the strategies they use to make sense of their experiences and discern state vs. non-state activities. It proposes a typology to illustrate the perceived levels of state involvement in these operations. The study highlights the importance of recognizing and examining strategically ambiguous collaborative influence operations as a distinct form of state-society partnership, which has significant implications for individuals, society, and the dynamics of online influence operations.
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