#RiceBunny, the #metoo movement, and censorship in China
April 1, 2018 9:31 AM   Subscribe

How feminists in China are using emoji to avoid censorship (Wired). Business Insider gets into how #ricebunny localizes the #metoo movement to China, with some discussion of success, and also of the impacts of censorship. The Conversation offers more history on the evolution of #metoo in Chinese culture. Throughout there is some discussion of the ways homophones are used in China to avoid censorship.
posted by bile and syntax (3 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I saw some of these articles posted on twitter, but some users said they weren't seeing either 🍚🐰 or 米兔 getting much widespread use on weibo. But, considering results are affected by IP, I'm curious if any Chinese-based weibo users know about this.
posted by alexlaw at 1:20 PM on April 1, 2018

As well as homophones, I wonder if the traditions of classical poetry, where a couple of words are meant to evoke entire poems (not unlike the kennings of Germanic/Nordic poetry), inform a culture of dissent. On the other hand, it seems like the ability of a internet to spread the word that a particular “euphamism” was being used wouldn’t also make it easier for the government to target. I imagine, by the time Western media has got ahold of it, the Chinese government has already decided whether to target that phrase or not....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:22 PM on April 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

The web site China Digital Times reports on the internet in China. It covers official policy, de facto policy, censorship, censorship evasion, the Great Firewall of China, and news relating to the internet from a Chinese perspective.
They maintain the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon.
The Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon is a glossary of memes, nicknames, and neologisms created by Chinese netizens and encountered in online political discussions. The project is named in honor of the grass-mud horse (cǎonímǎ 草泥马), whose name sounds nearly the same in Mandarin as a vile curse and has become the de facto mascot of Chinese Internet users. Netizens use coded language to avoid outright censorship, and to allude to their desire for freedom of information and expression. They possess boundless creativity and ingenuity in the face of stifling government restrictions on online speech.
They post words and phrases that are censored on social media and comments that are deleted by censorship. Additionally the publish the directives sent the government to all media telling them how to report the news. A current example of a sensitive phrase is “Fatty” Kim Jong-un Visits Beijing.
There are many homophones in Chinese and these, along with allusions to historical events and public figures, are routinely used to criticize government oppression and corruption. These are often banned and then added to the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon. It seems likely #RiceBunny will show up there soon.
posted by Metacircular at 5:05 AM on April 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

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