Censoriousness and Circumvention

Victor Mair at Language Log posts about a Chinese news blackout, with online censorship that includes an inability to search for relevant terms. Such is the nature of running a search engine under a censorious government. The post is interesting for the means used to circumvent censorship through nicknames, references, and homophones. This last is especially flexible in Chinese, although gamers will be familiar with a great many ways to beat name and chat filters.

Commenter Jason observes: “China has a strategy of censoring just about anything, randomly and arbitrarily, which makes drawing conclusions about what’s important based on whether it’s censored or not a difficult proposition.” This is an exciting strategy, likely stumbled upon rather than by design (perhaps now intentional). Absence is meaningful when it is conspicuous, but it can be made inconspicuous through overuse. It takes an authoritarian regime to practice the strategy on that scale, but they have one. Someone in the Communist Party bureaucracy has the job of really serious theorycrafting.

: Zubon

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