Home Web information The Chinese Web will become a red utopia

The Chinese Web will become a red utopia


Ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP), China’s largest social media platform Sina Weibo has stepped up censorship of sensitive information, saying it will tighten control over unwanted terms , including homophones and related variants, to create a “clear” cyberspace.

It has become a battle of wits between Chinese cyber authorities and netizens who use phonetic abbreviations or more creative homophones or variant terms to avoid censorship.

For example, the Chinese word for “the Netherlands” – helan (荷蘭) – resembles that of the Chinese province of Henan (河南). After violent clashes in the banks of this province at the beginning of the month, people used slogans such as: “Save the depositors of the [helan] banks.”

Everyone knew what he was referring to, as puns are ubiquitous in China.

Common expressions, including homophones of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name (習近平), “democracy” and “democratic movement”, now risk being censored on Sina Weibo.

In recent years, the CCP has tightened its grip on freedom of expression on the Internet, placing greater emphasis on homophones and intentional misspellings, and Chinese social media users have increasingly used no more creative homophones, variants or even romanization of Chinese terms. to evade online censorship.

It is obvious that the CCP has long had censorship standards for sensitive expression on the Internet. Authorities are constantly looking for the use of terms that could threaten the party.

Under the authoritarian regime in China, freedom of speech means following what the CCP says. Beijing doesn’t care about people’s feelings and continues to suppress their last expressions of free will online.

As the Party Congress approaches, the CCP seeks to purge all white noise from the Internet, trying to turn it into Beijing’s “red utopia”, a cyberworld without political criticism, where the greatness of the CCP leadership and the goodness of the party are praised.

Nick Hu is a graduate student.

Translated by Eddy Chang

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