Digital Chinese Take Out for the Expat's SoulPosts RSS Comments RSS

Archive for the 'Censorship' Category

Banned in Beijing: Stupid Meat and Stupid Judges….

My opera singing, voice-over specializing buddy in the states (who has a set of pipes you can hear through email) sent me an article on the boring-down of the next Supergirls style competition in China.


Crying, “unhealthy songs,” non-mainstream dress, potty words, Simonesque judges who humiliate contestants and “wild hair” are a few of the things to get banned. Tears, wild hair, “low taste,” and unhealthy songs are forbidden when China’s latest version of “American Idol” goes on the air next month.

In the words of my friend: “So, where’s the fun in that?”

In related news: Beijing, actively fretting over their image, announced that its goal to wipe out Chinglish in time for the Olympics might have been a bit wistful. And nothing demonstrates that better than the name of the coming show: It will be called, “Happy Boys Voice.”

This name was infinietly preferable to the earlier and obviously much too Chinglish name, “Boys Happy Voice.” And during this sequel to ‘Super Girls Voice,” the show that drew 400 million viewers, regulators want only “healthy and ethically inspiring” songs and say the contestants should “avoid scenes of screaming fans or losing contestants in tears.” There will no overnight fame for enraptured fans here.

American Idol Crying Girl

So, back to Beijing:

“You can’t talk in absolutes,” says Liu Yang, deputy head of the Chinglish police. “We’ll work as hard as possible to extinguish the problem and get more city residents involved,” he added. “Of course, it will still happen occasionally, but I think we can ensure that once mistakes are found, they are rectified.”

And they did a good job rectifying this one: Beijing’s “Hospital for Anus and Intestine Disease”, once lit up in garish neon lights in the central business district, is now the “Hospital for Proctology”.

Again, where’s the fun in that?

How boring is restaruant food going to be of you can no longer order “Stupid Meat,” Young Chicken Without Sex,“It is small to fry the chicken miscellaneous,” “Mixed elbow with garlic mud”, huh?

The number two Chinglish Dick is still unsure as to what country wil be used as a standard for the upcoming changes: “Every country is different when it comes to English signs, like the US and Britain having varying standards,” he said.

I am not sure America will hold the linguistic high ground here: “It’s hard to say that a certain country is the only one worth relying on or considering” says word cop Liu in his best Happy Boys Voice.

…..Thanks Cypipes

Asian Humor,Censorship,China Editorials,China Humor,China Olympics,China Photos,Chinese Media,Chinglish,Confucius Slept Here,Humor,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Just Plain Strange,Photos,Travel in China,Weird China,中国

No responses yet

China Blinders….

Yahoo! China

In today’s news: is a new blogging network for Chinese netizens. According to Reuters and Wired magazine the new service designed to give bloggers a place to exchange ideas and photos. Wired posited that this seemed pretty dangerous in light of Yahoo’s admitted role as a snitch for folks who might advocate such atrocities as democracy and human rights. While I like that they took a shot at Yahoo! for its ongoing hypocrisy, it seems typically naive and Sinophobic. QQ is the world’s third most popular IM service and easily the largest in China. It is an incredible pipeline for information among everyday Chinese citizens. There are now so many blogs, bulletin boards, cell phones and messaging services that the Chinese government is soon going to be busier than a one-armed paper hanger with the hives and hopefully unable to police even a fraction of the traffic out there. I am looking forward to more of the Chinese information/communication explosion. Wired and media worldwide ought to be applauding any vehicle that further taxes the censors and they should be providing links to groups that will help further that cause. But, it is easier to demonize a country we really know little about in the west and play to people’s perceptions of China.

While Yahoo is trying to get folks on the net the Chinese government is trying to get some of them off: The long anticipated restrictions on gaming will take effect on July 15th. Emboldened by a report that claims some 2,000,000 Chinese kids are addicted, the government will penalize minors who spend more then three hours a day playing video games like WoW online. The consequences: After three hours players will only earn half the credits they would normally accrue and if they play for five hours online they will stop earning any credits at all. It isn’t exactly a firing squad, but some folks are calling this a fascist policy. Should I be sent to Guantanamo for believing it is not really a very bad policy and the punishment seems pretty benign?

And speaking of fascists: Google, Yahoo! and MSN are taking heat from some bloggers for refusing to to sell ads for China is Evil. CIE is a pretty poorly done site with kind of rambling rant which includes: “ In recent years maoist rebels have tried to take over Nepal. I have no evidence that China is supporting them, but it is highly probable that they are.” It ain’t the International Herald Tribune and I am even not sure there enough content on his one page site to get him banned in Beijing. I say sell him the ads. As advocates of free speech we should be defending his right to sound dim, especially if he is paying for it.

But he seems typical of most Americans and bloggers to whom I speak with about China: It is a given, in my experience, that Westerners will buy information in any news release that helps paint China as a bastion of oppression and don’t do a lot of research on their own. My stories about China’s ills are syndicated 10 times more frequently than my calls for positive action.

I was guiding a class through keyword research in an SEO class today and looking up words relating to China/Asia. The results were telling:

China Politics receives 1,600 queries

Chinese Girls gets 61,000 searches a month by Americans in the three major engines

Human Rights China scores 2,345 hits

China News gets 17,000 visits

Chinese Zodiac slams in at 280,000

and Tiannanmen Square receives 15,000 searches a month…..

I get a bit weary of the negativity without good information or corresponding positive solutions. I heard candidate Obama on Letterman play to people’s fears that their jobs might be outsourced to China, but I heard little about how he’d further humanitarian ideals for an oppressed populace. China is new country we love to hate. But boycotting or ignoring issues and not participating in solutions isn’t going to do us, or the 1.3 billion folks in the Middle Kingdom, much good.

Scholarly and well articulated related articles: Mutant Frog (fantastic writing!), Simon World,

Blogroll Diving,cartoons,Censorship,China Editorials,China web 2.0,In the news,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国

No responses yet

Egao (恶搞): The evil work of humor…..

The times they might be a changin’ on the Chinese Internet.

The Chinese, long lovers of Three Stooges and Mr Bean-like visual laugh making, are taking plunges into the deep end of the humor pool and everyone seems to be loving it, save the censors.

Picked up via the China Digital Times: “China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine recently reported this shocking news: The central government created universal health care for the country’s 1.3 billion people, wiped out bribery and reduced the country’s wide income gap. And Migrant workers in the southern city of Guangzhou, notorious for its sweatshops, were “happy” and “respected,” the magazine reported in its print and Web editions.

Of course, it was political parody and all untrue.”

It is the start of a new Internet fashion. Not everyone enjoys the freedom to thumb their pens at the central governmeng like brilliant Hong Kong cartoonist Harry Harrison at the South China Morning Post:

Yahoo censorship

Harry, who hammers Beijing and Washington with equal force, is in for some grass roots competition.

Sardonic wit is the new censorship survival, escape and evasion tool of the masses. Its new name, pretty sarcastic on its own, is “egao” or “evil work” in literal translation.

The mainland’s traditional artists ( I love this site!) have gotten a bit bolder of late:

Chinese Cartoon

But their political humor, fantastic as it is, remains chiefly aimed at America and Western targets or generally accepted social problems. That would, of course, be a self-preservation move. You won’t last long on a newspaper staff drawing the hand that feeds you:

Chinese Cartoon
The word egao describes “a subculture that is characterized by humor, revelry, subversion, grass-root spontaneity, defiance of authority, mass participation and multi-media high tech…” was a definition that appeared in China Daily recently.

With aggregators, bulliten boards and instant messaging the ordinary citizen is braving consequences by not adhering to the government censorship of all media. Movies, cartoons and viral e-mails are slicing and dicing up everything that the Chinese find troublesome in the Middle Kingdom.

I cannot wait to see a copy of “Crazy Stone,” that friends and media reports have said is a pie in the face to about everything sacred in China. At one point “The movie targets Chinese officials in a scene where the main character realizes the ornament has been stolen but decides against calling the police.’The police?’ he asks as he drags on a cigarette. ‘If we call the cops, we’ll lose everything. They’ll just mess things up.'”

I am certain this will not slow down bootleg sales of Mr. Bean or other slapstick, but it is a move in a promising direction…The shortest distance between two people is definitely a smile–even a wicked one!

FYI: Onemanbandwidth seems to be back in the websphere in China. It was on and off blocked over the last few days in various parts of the country. Here’s to my release from Cyber-hold!

Long Live Egao!

Asia,Asian Humor,cartoons,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Humor,Chinese Internet,Humor,In the news,Intercultural Issues,中国

No responses yet

“Global Uprising Day”

One of the staff at my college, a Canadian-Chinese, recently reported me to the administration because I expressed surprise at her fierce anger about foreign faculty and student visitors being upset about last year’s shootings near Tibet. She will not watch the video and is certain no such event occurred in October of last year nor 48 years ago. She is still unconvinced and I remain warned that I could lose my job for talking about it on campus.

Acording to Boing Boing via the Hao Hao Report: Tibetan exiles around the world and their supporters plan to use YouTube to commemorate “global uprising day” this Saturday, March 10. Videos already uploaded include pilgrims, rap songs, statements from monks, rants from young Tibetan exiles in the United States, and words from ama-la (grandmas). Looks like the revolution(s) will be televised after all. Link. (Thanks, Nathan Freitas / Students For a Free Tibet)

History: On March, 10, 1959, an uprising took place in Tibet against the Chinese occupation. In Lhasa on that day, 300,000 Tibetans surrounded the palace that housed the Dalai Lama, in order to protect him from anticipated abduction or assassination. China’s military response in the days that followed left thousands dead. Link. More than 1.2 million Tibetans have since died as a result of the occupation, according to the Tibetan Government in Exile.

Asia,Censorship,China Editorials,In the news,India,Personal Notes,Tibet,Videos,中国

5 responses so far

Who’s afraid of the big bad blog?


LiveJournal is functionally dead in China right now. The Chinese government tossed another 1.8 million blogs into the cyber- shadows by cutting off access to the service.

According to Wired LiveJournal announced on Monday that they had joined the ranks of Technorati, and a host of other banned services.

The, surprisingly unblocked and loaded with condemning comments, first spotted the block Friday. It is not the first time LiveJournal has gotten the cyber-axe and some folks think there may be a partial pardon coming: Xiao Qiang, a Chinese dissident and founder of China Digital Times (CDT is also flying in China’s no-see zone), the best comprehensive aggregator of China News on the planet, speculates that the timing of this shutdown suspiciously corresponds to the start of the National People’s Congress meeting in Beijing. The government wants to ensure the silence of blogger guns by not allowing them to even load.

While Livejournal could be freed from virtual detention after the march meeting, Xiao states, “You never know when they are going to block it again.”

I often see no rhyme or reason regarding blocks. even with today’s announcement that new Internet Cafes would not be licensed in 2007, due to concern for porn and game addictions, I have seen “body art” sites flourish while some pro-China expat blogs have gone dark after a single rebuttal of policy.

To date here are a few of the services that have been blocked:

I cannot view many of the sites that link to me or have important information I feel I need to read. Some banned spaces can be accessed through services like Feedburner, Bloglines, Delicious , and through great humanitarian sites like Global Voices Online or via proxy servers, but others are impossibly hard to get to…

The Great Firewall appears determined to outlast its historical namesake.


Members of any of the blog services mentioned above can show that they care about these issues by linking back to any of the banned blogs or any of the stories referenced.

+++++ and I received a trackbacks from you, but cannot view you as you too are blocked here…I will look for you…

Asia,cartoons,Censorship,China Business,China Cartoons,China Editorials,Greater Asia Blogs,In the news,Personal Notes,The Great Firewall,中国

11 responses so far

OMBW Blocked in China!

censored in china

Well, it finally happened: My site is blocked in China.

I am guessing it was the Tibet piece the banned blogs post and the last one below….I should have stuck to funny stories about coffee coke

It reminds me of the “Aw *hit” certificates we used to hand out in the military . It read something like: “1,000 Atta Boys are negated by one Aw *hit”…

Aw *hit!

Asia,cartoons,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China web 2.0,In the news,Personal Notes,The Great Firewall,The Internet,Tibet,中国

No responses yet



Books have been virtually replaced by blogs. But, puns aside, many of them showcase the transformative elements Pablo Neruda* suggests as essential to written art in Ars Magnetica:
“From so much loving and journeying, books emerge.

And if they don’t contain kisses or landscapes,
if they don’t contain a woman in every drop,
hunger, desire, anger, roads,
there are no use as a shield or as a bell:
they have no eyes and won’t be able to open them….”

Here I have I have tried to smooth the stubble of memory, share poetry, attempt humor, journal my social conscience, and reconcile my longings while shoutng to you in some far-off room. I leave here absolutely bewildered that anyone, other than my long-suffering friends, ever returned to listen. I am grateful you did.
Continue Reading »

American Poet in China,American Professor in China,Beijing Olympics,Cancer Journal,Censorship,Charity in China,China Book Reviews,China Business,China Business Consultant,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China Expats,China Humor,China Law,China Photos,China web 2.0,Chinese Education,Confucius Slept Here,Entertainment,Expats,Guangzhou,Guangzhou China,Hainan Island,Hong Kong,Hong Kong Blogs,In the news,Intercultural Issues,Just Plain Strange,New Blogs,Photos,Teaching in China,The Great Firewall,The Sharpest Guy on the Planet,The Unsinkable Ms Yue,Travel in China,UK SEO EXPERT,Weird China,中国,中文

44 responses so far

You’ve Got Mail! And so does the CIA, DEA, DIA, FBI…


While Yu Ling, wife of a Chinese dissident jailed for publishing articles on the Internet, is preparing her suit against Yahoo for allegedly helping to put her husband in jail in China there is a storm brewing in the U.S. over privacy that may make make suits like hers moot in America.

While Yahoo’s Hong Kong branch freely gave Chinese authorities information about the dissident’s e-mail accounts–and landed him in the slammer for 10 years–they may soon be required to provide open portals for law enforcement agencies in America to collect data they want in your mail, your chats and your Internet phone calls.

In recent years, human rights groups have accused Yahoo of providing authorities with information that has led to the imprisonment of several dissidents. Yahoo may soon have the protection of US authorities within American borders if the federal government gets the power to monitor cyber-transmissions. According to a report by Declan McCullagh as reported in South by Southwest: “The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping.” As noted in by CNet, the proposed legislation would require any manufacturer of “routing” and “addressing” hardware to offer upgrades or other modifications that are needed to support Internet wiretapping — it would also authorize the expansion of wiretapping requirements to commercial Internet services including instant messaging if the FCC deems it to be in the public interest. The FCC?!

Reporters Without Borders says China has imprisoned at least 50 individuals, including Wang Xiaoning, for their activities on the Internet.

Asia,cartoons,Censorship,China Cartoons,China Editorials,China web 2.0,Homeland Security,In the news,Personal Notes,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国

No responses yet

« Prev