China Will Cut Off Your Phone Call If You Say The Word 'Protest' [Updated]

from the protest-protest-protest dept

Update: It's looking like this story is bunk, as attempts to fact check it have turned up nothing... even by one of the reporters on the story

It's no secret that the Chinese government is exceptionally fearful that citizens there may take notice of the uprisings and protests in the middle east and try to do something similar at home. It's also no secret that the government goes to great lengths to try to control certain forms of communication inside the country. However, it seems to be getting ever more hamfisted and ridiculous in how it does so. Take, for example, reports that phone calls where people say the word "protest" are leading to calls automatically being cut off, even if the call has nothing to do with anti-government protests:
A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancee over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude's response to Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." The second time he said the word "protest," her phone cut off.

He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase on Monday in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in midsentence.
What really has me scratching my head, however, is how anyone thinks that this form of censorship is effective. Is cutting off someone's phone call when they say "protest" really going to make them think "oh well, I guess I won't protest now"?

In the meantime, I'm hoping this leads to a new game in China, where people try to figure out the right words and phrases to get the government to cut off your phone call midsentence. It could even be a drinking game.

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  1. identicon
    DB, 23 Mar 2011 @ 9:03am

    Hamlet was my first thought

    Before I even read the article, my first thought was about not quoting Shakespeare.

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