Local protests are not uncommon in China, but the COVID protest of 2022 stood out as a rare and intriguing event due to its highly networked and oriented nature. This project takes a deep dive into the swarm behavior that characterized the protests by uncovering the underlying promise pursued by the protesters and examining how content was strategically broadcast to its audience. The project explores the network technologies that sustained the formation and the alignment technologies that oriented the swarm toward collective action. Additionally, this study provides an adversarial analysis, shedding light on how the Chinese government deployed counter-tactics and technologies to combat the swarm. This dual examination of both the swarm’s potency and the government’s response offers an enlightening view of a complex interplay between swarm and anti-swarm dynamics.

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