This image was banned on 2 QQ (Chinese) social media forums. This is a label from a carton of 30 Burnbrae large eggs, made in the USA. Photo 1 by Don Tai
I do not intend to be subversive on Chinese social media, nor very political. I also do stay away from sensitive issues on QQ, a Chinese social media messaging and forum site. This image ban, however, really took me by surprise. I teach some English on the Chinese forums, so I thought I’d show them a typical Canadian product label in English and French. I tried 3 times, and the QQ bot banned me all three times from posting to 2 separate QQ forums. Very odd.
This new Chinese law only allows for “positive” content on the internet, with wide discrepancy for interpretation. While it will be difficult to interpret and will be a moving target, this has always been the case for all of Chinese law and especially content on the Chinese web space.
A good study is required if you publish anything in China. Specifically note Chapter 2, Article 4 through 7. These are critical for content writers and commenters, which means everyone.
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China Law Regulating Internet Content: Positive Content Only
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Information is power, and information, to most people of the world is the internet. For most, this starts with a Google Search. In 2010 Google exited China, due to a massive hack by the Chinese government into Google servers. Now, beckoned by the call for making money, Google is again rethinking China. Can Google stand by its ethics of “Do no Harm” while working with the Chinese Government? There will be some compromizes required.
I found this reference in the G&M to an unpublished Chinese document about internet censorship, so I contacted the author for a reference, which he provided. As these are pictures and not text it is more difficult to translate. When I have more time I will try to translate all the pages.
I cannot have one of my Chinese friends translate this as this would get them into a lot of trouble with the Chinese government.
Unpublished Chinese censorship document reveals sweeping effort to eradicate online political content
互联网直播服务信息内容管理要求 Internet broadcast service information content management requirements
Globe and Mail censures me for a review on someone else’s comment on an article I did not read. They used the word ~psychotic~ in jest, and this constitutes harassment or a personal attack. G&M your automated censure system screwed up. Toronto, Canada. Image by Don Tai
I am an online Globe and Mail reader, and occasionally comment on various news articles. The Globe and Mail has recently changed over to a new peer comment review system, where posters rate other people’s comments. As I would never comment anything that I would not say to a person’s face, I have never had a warning from my own postings. Today I was warned by the Globe and Mail, twice, that my review of some other person’s comment, violated community standards, and I have 2 remaining warnings before my account is restricted. This is ridiculous.
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Globe and Mail Comment Warnings, From Reviewing other Comments
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Free, the Internet should be, freedom to express oneself, is the standard thinking of most people. No one should be able to censor content. All should be able to read whatever they wish, whatever they can find. China, with their “Great Firewall of China”, does censor content for their 1.4B citizens, and is widely condemned for their radical actions. I am rethinking censorship of the Internet. In light of the rise of ISIS and other terrorist organizations maybe we should consider censorship for certain situations.
China's 60 mile traffic jam of coal trucks lasted 10 days.
Contrary to popular belief, China is still Communist. There has been no change of political will, only the naive belief of foreigners that as China becomes wealthier that China will abide by its own rules of law. This is not the case, as the Toronto Star’s Asia correspondent Bill Schiller, found out. He traveled a little outside Beijing into the countryside only 3 hours train ride away, only to find out that things are run differently in the countryside. Reporters do get hassled and told in uncertain terms to leave.
Google's China specific search engine is gone, ending self-censorship
You have to admire Google for standing up for its corporate philosophy. I could not see how Google could continue to self-censor its content in China while continuing to uphold its corporate values. I also could not see how Google even agreed to enter the Chinese market in 2006 on the condition that they self-censor. Today Google will dismantle its China-specific search engine and redirect queries to its Hong Kong based site. Of course the Chinese government was outraged, as expected. I believe that for the internet as a community, something was lost today, though I am unsure what. Was it possibly a global sign that we can all get along?