Unpublished Censorship Guidelines Lay Bare The Deepest Fears Of The Chinese Government

from the vulgar-use-of-a-microphone-controller dept

It’s hardly a state secret that China is instituting the most complete surveillance and censorship system ever attempted by a society (so far), and on an unprecedented scale. Techdirt has been tracking that sad saga over the years, mostly reporting on how censorship is being implemented. Less information has been available about what exactly the Chinese government doesn’t want people to know about/discuss. Aside from the obvious issues — repression of Tibetans and Uyghurs, Tiananmen Square protests, environmental problems, government corruption etc. — just what is Beijing afraid of? A document obtained by the The Globe and Mail may shed some light on this question, although it’s still not entirely clear who wrote it:

It began circulating early this year, and is believed to have been issued by the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China, China’s central Internet authority, which did not respond to requests for comment.

It’s also possible that the document, which outlines 10 basic categories of banned content, was written by a government-affiliated trade association, a censorship expert said.

In any case, experts seem to accept that it represents the Chinese government’s position quite well, which makes the insights it gives into official thinking extremely valuable. Forbidden activities include many that come as no surprise, such as: insulting leaders, criticizing official policies, spreading information about “made-up” accidents, epidemics, police incidents, and issues related to the economy. Celebrities are protected to a certain extent, with a ban on over-the-top stories about their sex scandals or luxurious lifestyles. Talking about violence, superstitions or religions are also out, as are the following:

Not only is pornography banned, but so is all obscenity, a category that includes “using a bed or sofa as a prop or background,” appearing shirtless, wearing tattoos or dancing in a way “that has flirtatious and vulgar elements.” Also forbidden is the spreading of harmful information, a category that includes cursing, smoking and drinking, gambling or “vulgar use of a microphone controller (or any mimicking of it).”

But alongside much that is outright wacky — what on earth does “vulgar use of a microphone controller” even mean? — the article quotes Yaxue Cao, the founder and editor of ChinaChange.org, who points out a more serious underlying strategy discernible here:

“It targets political dissent of course, but any activities that might cause a large number of people to coalesce, whether through popular entertainment such as Duanzi (jokes) and cartoons, or through direct sales network,” she said, in an e-mail. “It also aims at content that might give people ideas of resistance and how-to knowledge. I go through each category, this is the theme I see: a heightened sense of regime insecurity.”

It’s a great point that explains much of what the Chinese government has done over the last few years. What the authorities fear above all else is not so much any of the topics mentioned above in themselves, but the thought that they might help people to band together, and even formulate an idea that is truly frightening for Beijing: that they could start to resist.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “Unpublished Censorship Guidelines Lay Bare The Deepest Fears Of The Chinese Government”

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resist it all says:

resist chinese crap

chinese leaders are crap and should be shot and killed mercilessly. They are at present trying to work with russia and take over the world. dont let them, kill them all first before they use nuclear weapons on the world as they will and have threatened to time and again. kill chinese people all of them the anal poofs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Zombie Master keeps "Advocate" active

though highly suspicious “account” with SIX YEAR GAP after the first in 2007! Also name change then to “Keisar Betancourt” for two years, and back!

No one ever attempts an alternate conclusion to astro-turfing, or to explain — because inexplicable! Not opinion, nor in least slanted. Just LOOK at the early history and try to deny is ODD that a person would use an account ONCE though remember password for SIX years:


Readers and commenters beware: Techdirt is for entertaiment purposes only.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Zombie Master keeps "Advocate" active

is ODD that a person would use an account ONCE though remember password for SIX years:

Perhaps there’s a "forgot password" feature. Maybe he uses the same password for everything. Maybe he uses a password manager. What’s odd is you being so interested in his comment history.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The Zombie Master keeps "Advocate" active

What’s odd is you being so interested in his comment history.

Oh, another TD fanboy who tries to deflect interest, without providing ANY alternative.

You overlook instrinsic point that just recalling one has an account after six years of disuse is remarkable!

Please answer this question, "nasch": are you NOT even vaguely interested in whether Techdirt does astro-turfing?

Because I’m sure that all NORMAL persons would be HIGHLY interested to learn that a site is FAKING comments. Therefore, Techdirt is more valuable to you than is The Truth.

I won’t be going back and forth. Your own comment history shows many thousands of trivial comments, long LATE. It’s an ODD point of yours.

There’s no end of ODD here. Weirdest site on teh internets!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Zombie Master keeps "Advocate" active

Does Techdirt? To some small degree, maybe. Or maybe there are actual users unlike that “27 Bangladeshis” meme you like to fling around like damning evidence.

After all, if your hero Ajit Pai can accept bots masquerading as net neutrality repeal supporters, what’s a little astroturf? On a website <i>YOU YOURSELF</i> claim is insignificant and nobody reads. Why does this bother you so much? Probably because you’re an overly obsessed fucknugget.

SESTA voted.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Zombie Master keeps "Advocate" active

Oh, another TD fanboy who tries to deflect interest, without providing ANY alternative.

I provided three different ways he could have had his password available.

You overlook instrinsic point that just recalling one has an account after six years of disuse is remarkable!

Because I don’t find it remarkable.

Please answer this question, "nasch": are you NOT even vaguely interested in whether Techdirt does astro-turfing?

If I saw some evidence for it, sure I’d be interested. I haven’t seen any, just totally unsupported speculation. And no, that is not interesting to me.

sumgai (profile) says:

Re: controller misinterpretation

A mic stand "controls" where the microphone will be positioned (hopefully in front of one’s mouth), the translation was a bit too literal.

But yes, for more than 60 years the mic stand has been (pardon me) a stand-in for a phallic symbol. You have to wonder, is the Chinese government trying to dissuade people from enlarging their population?

In China Right Now says:

its not worse than the US


Chinese social media is literally FULL of everything you mention, every single day. And, in the deeper chat rooms, you find all the naughtier stuff, and even local enforcers yukking it up about a lewd meme here and there. I have even found one board whete the local police mock and laugh at people who are afraid they will go to jail for mentioning Tianenmen.

WeChat/Weixin, and Weibo/Baidu etc have entire sections devoted to sexy selfies, semi lewd behavior, beautiful girls making slurping noises and chewing food in the lewdest ways imaginable.And, showing of their long legs, and more.

And like any/every society, there is a left/right binary.

Its all pretty adorable compared to a religious theocracy monitoring every teens nude
selfies from NSA/FVEY/Israel, and then, locking up teen boys and calling them sex offenders for life.

Yes, censorship, and real time monitoring is going on, especially of foreigners-but its all pretty blatant, unlike the US Fusion centers and NSA spying on Americans.

And all of those mass shooters in the US? Each and every one of them was monitored BEFORE DURING AND AFTER their rampages.

And guess what? Psychological operations are being waged on Americans in unprecedented Bernaysian proportions from JTRIG, CIA, Facabook, etc~all documented elsewhere

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Yeah, it really is

Yes, censorship, and real time monitoring is going on, especially of foreigners-but its all pretty blatant, unlike the US Fusion centers and NSA spying on Americans.

So ‘yes they engage in censorship and mass spying, but at least they’re open about it’? Yeah, that’s… not any better. Do you somehow think that the NSA engaging in mass surveillance would be less of a problem if they just admitted it, as though having it a terribly kept secret is the important objection?

At this point I think only a seriously jingoistic individual would argue that the US doesn’t have problems, but at least in the US you can still legally criticism those in power, current or historical, without it being considered a crime.

Chinas Vibrant Social Media says:

Re: Re: Yeah, it really is

You are quite the naeive idealist.

Anyone who criticizes the American deep state, the patholigically racist, narcisdistic FBI/DEA/ ADL/AIPAC/ForeverWar/ NGOs becomes a targeted speaker, under constant and literal attack.

This is neither freedom of “protected” speech, nor even clise to equality under the law, or due process after the
fact of these .online-to-offline speech suppressions , because the monitoring and subsequent harassment via the various private contractors/FVEY/JTRIG, etc is the use of military force on citizens.

This is expressly forbidden by the constitution.

I ex-patriated due to online harassment that comes offline via community policing and other un-prosecuted state crimes.

But make no mistakes- there is no protected free speech in the US-you have full time word police, who work from Fusion Centers and do all the dirty politcal polucing, pre-empive of civil rights and due process.

And I am certain a commerce clause or two would come into play as well…

I have not see that in China, nor anything close to what Moody posits, except in cases that literally MIRROR EXACTLY what is happening in the US.

What an a$$ umoron says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Yeah, it really is


Read Techdirt.Read The intercept.Read the Ativist.Read Reason.

Or~dont they let you read for yourself in your cyber-bunker there at JTRIG/FBI-DITU/ et alphabet spy center?

It must be hard reading other peoples email all day, and crap posting your garbage here.

Rakem Balogun John Lang BLM Etc (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Yeah, it really is

Do you live under a rock?

Techdirt covers these cases better than I ever could. If you actually read Techdirt, you would know that bloggers, speakers, and alternative mefia are all under attack.

I would link to content, but that would mean I work for free.

You would be a shitty .boss, and worse, commwnyers like you tend to call the DHS over bad worrdz, and cause real damage to real people.

Use Masnicks search feature for free speech cases.

Or, duckduckgo.com it.

Rogs lets YOU decide! (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Yeah, it really is

Um…you can decide for yourself! I have no dog here, but you sure like to fight.

Martha Mitchell effect/Streisand effect in action~you saw it here folks.

And just for fun, here from Wikileaks Vault 8 is how CIA/NSA/DIA/FBI et alphabet use the phrase “electronic implants” online in the dialectic of gang stalking,
And also, when you lok harder, you se the use of the term HIVE mind .


9 November, 2017

Today, 9 November 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the source code and development logs to Hive, a major component of the CIA infrastructure to control its malware.

Hive solves a critical problem for the malware operators at the CIA. Even the most sophisticated malware implant on a target computer is useless if there is no way for it to communicate with its operators in a secure manner that does not draw attention. Using Hive even if an implant is discovered on a target computer, attributing it to the CIA is difficult by just looking at the communication of the malware with other servers on the internet. Hive provides a covert communications platform for a whole range of CIA malware to send exfiltrated information to CIA servers and to receive new instructions from operators at the CIA.

Hive can serve multiple operations using multiple implants on target computers. Each operation anonymously registers at least one cover domain (e.g. “perfectly-boring-looking-domain.com”) for its own use. The server running the domain website is rented from commercial hosting providers as a VPS (virtual private server) and its software is customized according to CIA specifications. These servers are the public-facing side of the CIA back-end infrastructure and act as a relay for HTTP(S) traffic over a VPN connection to a “hidden” CIA server called ‘Blot’.
(Follow the link to learn more)

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Yeah, it really is

bloggers, speakers, and alternative mefia are all under attack.

Do some of those people each, at times, come under attack? Yes. Is Donald Trump anti-free press? Yes. But you’re moving the goalposts, because your initial claim is that EVERYONE who criticizes the government in the US comes under attack. By "literal attack" I’m not sure if you mean physical, or what. I’ve criticized the government, and not suffered any consequences at all for it, so a single counterexample disproves your blanket statement.

ROGS (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Yeah, it really is

I have literally and personally ben attacked, on numerous occasions.

While the average critic of the government usually will not come under bphysical attack, the activist does, and will.

There is a huge difference.

And this is observable bin many many cases: Black activists are STILL being murdered in America, and nothing has changed since the 60s~except that white Hispanic, and other males became silent about this fact.

In any/every discussion about perverse policing, we also see trends in the data: white men, tribal religious men from Arab/semitic/Catholic/other folds ARE NOT on the front lines of any of these protests.

We tend to hide behind this MASSIVE firewall called the internet, and write clever, intellugent analyses~relatively safely.

So, this is why…

And, this is why real attacks are all too real. Once you are on their list, you never get off. And this is why the modern police state, aksa surveillance state continues.

In my former residence,like all of America, the local police had then, and have now, a well hidden race gang structure.

In one hand~like Chicago~there is a deep and old strain of Nazi that goes back to the 1930 in that area.I even recall certain bars~bars that you might even like~that were whites only in the 1990s, some owned BY police.

And, just as bad, if not worse, there is the new diversity klans of black/brown/ other, who unfortunately have adopted a kkk styled gray area social enforcement scheme.

They try to compete for who can rot the badge most efficiently.

The key element as to who gets assaulted, and who doesnt is who puts their body bin the way of harm.

So~words are one thing, but some of us put our bodies on the line at one point, and this is why….

Talk is cheap, but police vendettas, hidden practices, database abuse, and internecine police corruption is forever.

And now, augmented with NSA-to-16 other agencies that sift through “our”data, and pass it around behind ever state-sponsored crime scene.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Yeah, it really is

I find it both funny and telling that the only response you seem to have to the article and the comments are ‘Look over there!’/whataboutisms with no evidence to support your claims(if you have any by all means provide the links, simply saying ‘the evidence is out there, find it yourself’ deserves an application of hitchen’s razor and nothing more).

What the US does has nothing to do with what China is doing, so instead of going on about the US, why not stay on topic and address what China is doing?

Th Politics of Ich Du says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Yeah, it really is

Us versus them, ay?

Nah, I prefer peace, not war.

And I would be happy to link and cite all day till the cows come home to roost.

But I didnt see a job offer up there anywhere, so, theres that.


You do live under a rock.

Media conglomerates know no boundaries: Murdock advising Deng in the 90
s, Yahoo, Bing, etc today.

Global media is both national and international, and US cituzens advise both.

And of course, no .one in Beverly Hills ever .gets prosecuted for trading with “the enemy”, which says what?

China is not your enemy~global corpirations who play pun the tail on the donkey, well….thats another discussion, ay?

Factitious Disorder/Aspergers Much? says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Yeah, it really is

Um….I think the adults here wil do their own research, and refute, or confirm my own.

And~that whole deal with “gimme links, or I shoot this puppy!” Is so retro, 2001.

In case you missed the memo~which .is understandable, considering that your mom leaves all your mail at the top of the basement stairs~no one here or elsewhere is going to do YOUR homework, without proper compensation.

Hell~ I will even slip a Mickey in moms Boones Farm, and help you open her purse, if it will shut your whining up for even one day.

But I am CERTAIN you are living for this absurd contact~ you thrive on it

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Yeah, it really is

But I didnt see a job offer up there anywhere, so, theres that.

In which case, Hitchen’s Razor, along with a note that you’re still banging on the ‘But what about anything but China and what’s discussed in this article!’ drum despite my request that you keep it on topic.

Given the level of discourse from you so far however I expected nothing less, so at least I wasn’t left disappointed.

Chinas Vibrant Social Media says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Yeah, it really is

Um….I dunno…I think that false dichotomies are for dictatorships and online bullies.

What rule book are you reading that says every internet posting in a web forum should use Roberts Rules, or yours?

Each forum is different, and while some use conversation like you seem to, as sort of a court trial of facts, others discuss things.

Even China alows this.

So~what are you on about?

For the record, Hitch for all his fire, failed to raise a generation .of critucal thinking atheists.

Instead, he inspired a bunch of SJWs to form crisis PR factories that .pereate every internet forum, influencing you to say vwhat you did up there^^^ and to help coopt critical thinking at the internet switch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: its not worse than the US

yeah, the very same authoritarian impulses/actions have long existed in American government … and modern technology is greatly improving government surveillance & control of American citizens.

China (and Great Britain) are a bit ahead of U.S. on totalitarian censorship, but WashingtonDC is working tirelessly to catch up.

Enjoy your imaginary U.S. Bill of Rights.

Chinas Vibrant Social Media says:

Re: its not worse than the US

Well, I see American censorship is in full effect~flagging my last comment.

Go team NSA/JTRIG! Techdirt is a highly monitored comment platform, loaded with deep state trolls.

BUT: Facts are facts~ Chinas social media is no more, no less controlled, no less censored than western media~but without the obvious JTRIG/Gamergate/cris PR of the month psyops that creates Amurricas mass shooters.

Just because CIA hides all its startups behind Thiel, Karp, Schmuckerberg, et al doesnt make it any less state sponsored.

Now, I think I will mosey over to We Chat, and flirt with some adorable local women, who slurp food lewdly, and show tattooed ankles.

Or maybe,

Anonymous Coward says:

and this is so different to where, exactly? just think about the changes that have been brought in and the privacy and freedom that have been removed/abolished since the purposefully induced financial crisis, let alone since 9/11 and the way that ‘Conservative’ based governments are in place everywhere, all making sure that the few prosper and the rest suffer!! the planet is being turned into a giant, slave culture controlled by the desires of a few powerful people who want to have everything while ensuring that no one else has anything!

Anonymous Coward says:

But I thought...

… this wasn’t really a secret. The Chinese government’s treatment of Falun Dafa/Gong followers show this kind of fear starkly and has for years.

It’s may even be as simple as thinking: “The people will find this more amusing than the freedoms we’ve let them have”. So anything and everything interesting is fearful because people will congregate around it and like it a lot, maybe more than the government. By the government’s logic, forbid any large (not government approved beforehand) groupings and you get rid of all the potential rebels.

Any grouping of people in this way is (potentially) rebellious, so to their minds it has to be either monitored or forbidden.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: But I thought...

Never said that, what are you trying to prove? I think it’s shitty for a country to distrust its citizens this much in general.

I’m not even American and I got told off for saying “America is great!” (which I didn’t and don’t think) by saying China’s doing a shitty thing! :/

Anonymous Coward says:

What is China afraid of?
Western interference, such as that which led to the overthrow of the legitimate government in Ukraine. The USA is the most powerful propaganda machine on Earth and actively works to destabilize governments. It’s a reasonable concern which leads to unreasonable information control, but it’s a matter of survival or complete capitulation.

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