Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (and Why)

Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (and Why)

Jason Q. Ng

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 159558871X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Though often described with foreboding buzzwords such as "The Great Firewall" and the "censorship regime," Internet regulation in China is rarely either obvious or straightforward. This was the inspiration for China specialist Jason Q. Ng to write an innovative computer script that would make it possible to deduce just which terms are suppressed on China’s most important social media site, Sina Weibo. The remarkable and groundbreaking result is Blocked on Weibo, which began as a highly praised blog and has been expanded here to list over 150 forbidden keywords, as well as offer possible explanations why the Chinese government would find these terms sensitive.

As Ng explains, Weibo (roughly the equivalent of Twitter), with over 500 million registered accounts, censors hundreds of words and phrases, ranging from fairly obvious terms, including "tank" (a reference to the "Tank Man" who stared down the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square) and the names of top government officials (if they can’t be found online, they can't be criticized), to deeply obscure references, including "hairy bacon" (a coded insult referring to Mao’s embalmed body).

With dozens of phrases that could get a Chinese Internet user invited to the local police station "for a cup of tea" (a euphemism for being detained by the authorities), Blocked on Weibo offers an invaluable guide to sensitive topics in modern-day China as well as a fascinating tour of recent Chinese history.

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the current state of China’s intellectual sphere and the development of the New Left, listen to Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn’s podcast with guest Mark Leonard: Sinica, “China 3.0,” Popup Chinese, December 14, 2012, popupchinese.com/lessons/sinica/china-30. 22. “Wang was quick to say that he disliked the New Left label, even though he has used it himself. He prefers the term ‘critical intellectual’ for himself and like-minded colleagues, some of whom are also part of China’s nascent activist

version of Twitter (and why) / Jason Q. Ng. pages cm Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-59558-885-2 (ebook) 1. Censorship--China. 2. Internet searching--China. 3. Internet--Censorship--China. 4. Internet--Political aspects--China. 5. Freedom of information--China. I. Title. Z658.C6.N42 2013 363.310951--dc23 2013010628 The New Press publishes books that promote and enrich public discussion and understanding of the issues vital to our democracy and to a more equitable world.

a Dungan Sufi master who was born in 1719. During the Qing Dynasty, he established the Jahriyya Sufi order in China, a school of Sufism—a sect of Islam—that was in opposition to the Khufiyya Sufis. Why it is blocked: Jahriyya was considered to be a subversive religion in China, and after one of Ma’s disciples, Su Sishisan , led an armed antigovernment uprising in 1781, Ma was arrested and beheaded. ( Liu Di / Liú Dí) is a Chinese blogger and translator. She was awarded a Hellman-Hammett grant

in China. ( the September 11 attacks / jiǔyīyī xíjī) were a series of suicide attacks attributed to the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda that targeted the United States on September 11, 2001. Why it is blocked: China has been battling its own Muslim rebels, whom it also labels terrorists, in its Western provinces. Though Chinese citizens and leaders generally expressed great sympathy and condolences to the United States following 9/11, the combination of violence, religion, and America make

Hóngjiālóu) is in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province. It is the largest church in the region and home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jinan. It is a major landmark of Jinan. Why it is blocked: The church was built between 1901 and 1905 and financed by reparations China had to pay foreign nations after being defeated in the Boxer Rebellion. A number of nations offered essentially to forgive China’s indemnity in acts of goodwill; for example, the United States remitted its share to

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