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From Our Own Correspondent Podcast

Uncovering China's Internet Trolls


Plenty of journalists have had the experience of being “trolled” – attacked on social media for what they have written or said, often in terms which can be both offensive and sometimes frightening. Tessa Wong was trolled after reporting on China, but rather than simply accepting the abuse, she tried to find out why so many people had launched these attacks. What she found was that some of them were not the spontaneous outbursts of outraged citizens which they might have appeared. Rather it seems that key social media political influencers are being encouraged in their work by the Chinese authorities.

It should have been a fairly straight-forward task for our reporter in the Seychelles, Patrick Muirhead. A financial scandal has hit the island nation, and various high profile people have been accused of taking money intended for its citizens. Patrick was in court to cover the proceedings, and was also offered the chance to interview the Seychelles’ President about the affair. However, this is a small country, and he was on first name terms with both the President, and with some of those in the dock. He admits, it was quite a challenge to report on the story with detachment.

2022 has started with some speculating that this could be the year in which Covid is beaten – not that the virus will disappear completely, but that it might become endemic, and certainly not killing people on anything like the scale seen so far. Yet even if by some miracle the Coronavirus were to vanish altogether, the effects of these past two years will be with us for a long time. In Peru, for example, tens of thousands of children have lost parents to Covid, and this in a country which already suffers from widespread poverty. As Jane Chambers explains, the death of a family breadwinner can leave children facing terrible hardship, along with the grief.

Meeting a rebel leader can be difficult at the best of times, but particularly so if that leader is under arrest. Joshua Craze, was on the trail of General Simon Gatwich, from one of the factions which has been fighting in South Sudan. The country broke away from Sudan following a long battle for independence, but then itself split into different factions. Although a peace agreement has been reached, it’s considered a fragile one. General Gatwich headed north, to Sudan itself, so Joshua Craze tried to find out what exactly he was up to there.

History has seen many symbolic acts of resistance: banging saucepans, for example, was an expression of rebellion in revolutionary France, and was more recently taken up by protestors in Latin America. Pro-democracy campaigners in Thailand and Myanmar, meanwhile, have taken to given a three finger salute, taken from the film, The Hunger Games. But there is another historical act of rebellion which might have passed you by: eating cake. That is what people in Denmark did for more than a century, as Amy Guttman explains.