Reading Time: 6 minutes
In light of recent events whereby the Chinese authorities have banished the apparent and supposed inappropriate Winnie the Pooh and his new movie from China, I felt it necessary to put on a tie and type a report that sheds mere shards of sense on all this strangeness and explore what censorship really is in China… and what it is Chinese censorship actually censors; find out below herewith, The Great Firewall of China.
(The Great Firewall of China is a commonly used phrase to explain Chinese censorship, it’s a play-on of the Great Wall of China and a Firewall, which is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing networks).
If you’re unsure of what the fudge I am going on about (nod now), then gather round, sip your milk and munch your cookie whilst I explain using individual words strung together to make something called, ‘sentences’ and, ‘paragiraffes’.
Chinese authorities announced that Disneys new Winnie the Pooh movie, ‘Christoper Robin’, has been banned from screening in China. “Why?” I hear you ask, “is it because Pooh strangles Tigger to death and licks honey off of his carcass?” Well, maybe in your deprived mind he does, but in reality, it has something to do with the following:
This is a comparison between the Chinese President, Xi Jinping and Winne the Pooh, made and shared by Chinese internet goers alike.
On what grounds have the government banned? Let’s hear what the Chinese authorities have to say, “the comparison is a serious effort to undermine the dignity of the presidential office and Xi himself”.
A different angle. Well, in other words, he feels insecure that his people are making fun of him so he’s just banning the entire movie, yeah, that’ll do it, now the movies illegal everyone will definitely know it doesn’t bother you and better still, everyone will just have a big seizuring-mind-format where Winnie the Pooh just ‘poofs’ out of their memory. Now, maybe this is just me, but I feel that a President, the leader of a powerhouse country, should be many things, but above all, he should be, responsible, sensible and act reasonably. If a few hundred thousand million people have a little fun at your expense by comparing you to a soft, pudgy and gentle children’s cartoon bear, then you should be secure enough with who you are and confident enough with your authority to be able to ignore that; in fact, I wouldn’t even want my President to bother his time with something so utterly harmless and trivial; but then again, I’m English, what do I know about Presidents.
Another reason for the film’s rejection by the authorities could be that China only allows 34 foreign films to be released in its cinemas each year; which brings me onto the main topic of The Great Firewall of China and its place in modern day society.
Social Media & The Internet.
Do you wake up in the morning and feel the absolute urge to share with the world that you’ve got wood, or that you’re out of milk? Or that you’re out of milk because you had wood? Now imagine having that privilege gone, taken from you without anything to fill the void except some state-run censored site that forbids explicitly and free expression! Oh what a world that would be, just cut my wrists now and leave me here to die, I couldn’t bear it.
Why would that be bad? It would be absolutely terrible because then that would be a goosestep and a salute towards the elimination of free speech; what then would we do without the guidance from the wise’n’deep teens that scour our internet to offer us comment and ridicule, both scaling all levels of
evil uselessness intellect. Whatever your position on social media, it can’t be denied that although it wouldn’t be a loss to lose the voice of the immature, moronic and so often, evil, it would still be a huge step back and a loss nonetheless as I’m sure it would only be the beginning.
What’s banned in China? Here’s a short list: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Google Maps (outside of China), Youtube, Yahoo, Blogspot, BBC and of course, Pornography.
Why? According to mainland sources, one of the reasons Chinese authorities have banned some (western) social media platforms, is to help avoid terrorist planning attacks, because as we all know, the best way to secretly plan an attack is to publically share it.
A different angle. These platforms instead could very well be banned as they’re western, think about it, having an American or European pop culture trending in a country where the young people are obsessed with western trends, could be disastrous for China, a country where the old and government alike strive to groom nationalism in schools with depictions of Mao (who qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history) above every blackboard and nationalistic anthems blasting from old hi-fi speakers.
How censored is the internet really? I’d go so far as saying its utterly pointless and more of an ethernet connection than the internet; in fact, it gave me a mouthful of ulcers each and every time I tried using it. Alright, so if you’re a Chinese national then it’s got everything you need, or has it got everything the government wants you to need? Think I’m exaggerating? If we look at Google we can see how they’re now considering relaunching a Chinese search engine that would conform to China’s policies, meaning search terms like, “human rights” and “religion” would be blocked, thus enabling China to suppress free expression. And if you weren’t aware, in China, all search terms of “Tiananmen square massacre” are blocked, thus literally denying the horrific event’s existence, a mere mutter of such could potentially get you in some serious trouble if you were to talk publically about it; so, would Google really not tell the truth about Tiananmen Square? Would a western company really block search terms such as, “human rights” and “religion“?
Gaming & TV.
What about the entertainment industry? When I found out that I could pick up a PlayStation 4 for a slash of the western price in China, I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my wallet and said, “damn, this is a nice wallet“, a few days later I made an order and there it was, Japanese gadgetry lying face down whispering with a come-hither-esque beep, “let us play”.
On loading the console I accessed the online store whereby you can download games as opposed to having to buy hard copies, it’s usually slightly cheaper and it’s less packaging for mother earth, so why not? If at this stage you’re thinking? “Games, how old are you?”, I’m 27 and I’m sure when you were a kid playing with ‘ball on a string’, your parents thought, “what a complete dick” too … times are moving on, get used to it.
I was expecting to be met with the 2000 odd games that I’d find if I was accessing the store back home in the wonderful land of bulldogs, skinheads and pubs, but instead, I wasn’t, what I was met with was something very unusual and also offered a reason as to why people don’t buy PS4’s in China, you guessed it, there were fewer games, far fewer in fact. I was met with no more than twenty or so Chinese releases, not a single big title on there, just pixilated platform games developed in China and they were all ‘proper shite’.
Why is this the case? Big game titles are banned in China because the government ‘don’t care much’ for swearing, sex, drugs, and any game that depicts the Chinese as nothing more than blue overall wearing triads working out of laundrettes and eating at Chunky Lee Chong’s noodle bar. But that still doesn’t explain the games that have been banned but don’t contain these offences, so, can the reason of ‘offensive’ really be truthful if it isn’t consistent?
Why has Peppa Pig been banned? If you’re an email subscriber to Clueless in Asia, you’re probably wondering why I was referencing Peppa Pig, well, here’s why:
“Peppa Pig, like any fictional character, must borrow the policy from Chairman Mao, ‘serve the people’ and instead not allow herself to be used by individuals or groups to put forth views deemed by the Party as detrimental to President Xi’s efforts to lead the Chinese nation to the promised land. Like Pooh Bear, whose portly shape was presented as resembling that of President Xi in a less than complimentary way and thus banned, Peppa Pig is made to disappear from Chinese media after she was being used by others to articulate politically incorrect ideas within China. To seek rehabilitation in China, Peppa Pig must formally and publicly commit herself to correct her mistake and support Xi Jinping in thought for socialism with Chinese characteristic in a new era.”
That’s right, Peppa Pig was being used as a meme of sorts by Internetters who hold different values about China and thus has been banned because of its “anti-establishment views” and “gangster” attitudes, both unwillingly and innocently forced upon it; meaning that Peppa Pig wasn’t and isn’t actually the problem, as removing the children’s cartoon means people will simply express their views from behind another meme instead. Yeah, so bet you didn’t know that, bloody ASBO counterculture pig bitch!
So, what does Chinese censorship actually censor? Anything that it doesn’t like, apparently.