“Anywhere in the world it can be a challenge to sort fact from fiction on the Internet, but in China the problem has a unique dimension, given the relative absence of reliable information, especially on issues involving the government," wrote Yu Hua, a famous Chinese author, for the New York Times.
Fang Kecheng, a former Southern Weekly journalist who currently researches Chinese political communication at the University of Pennsylvania, described the social media environment in China as "shit-like," in which unverified yet sensational information floods the system beyond anyone's control.
"I'm not promising that Clinton is flawless, maybe she will be exposed as having serious problems, but what I am sure of is that the sources of the conspiracy theories aren't reliable, that the information environment the Chinese people are living in is contaminated," Fang wrote in a WeChat post.
"I'm not surprised that the Youth League posted this," Fang told BuzzFeed News, saying that the post was basically clickbait. "Its content is always like that, with the basic point being that the Chinese system works much better than Western democracy."
"The Youth League has always been working around young people, so it has certain reason to be active on the internet," Fang said. The Youth League is also more desperate for relevance than other Chinese government arms — it's facing harsh reforms that may undermine its legitimacy as a supply pool of future leaders and is in a fight for its survival. In that environment, trying to appeal to the internet generation might be the league's last resort to keep its political status and resources.