China Bans…Words?

February 28, 2018

China’s government has gone on a censorship rampage following an outpouring of protest online.

On Sunday, China’s parliament proposed removing the clause limiting presidents to two five-year terms, which would allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.

In response, many in China, and around the world, began to criticise, and protest against, this decision on social media.

Almost as soon as they appeared, China’s censors began to delete posts critical of the proposed amendments, and began banning words on Weibo – China’s version of Twitter.

Internet searches for certain words were also blocked.

The terms “my emperor” and “lifelong control” were among those banned, along with references to George Orwell’s dystopian novels “Animal Farm” and “1984”, which both describe worlds where authoritarian leaders strictly control the populations under them.

Other terms which China deemed offensive include “emigrate”, “disagree”, “shameless” and even the letter “n”. It remains unclear why China chose to block the letter.

Censorship in China is not uncommon, although the government does usually allow for some dissent to be expressed.

The latest round of censorship is likely an attempt to keep negative opinions of the proposed amendment from spreading before the government votes on it in March.