Chinese 'Rage Comic' Site First Victim Of Government's History-Rewriting 'Heroes And Martyrs' Law

from the we'll-tell-you-how-to-remember-us dept

The Chinese government is rewriting history in its own distorted self-image. It wants to distance itself from its unseemly past, so it's retconning history through selectively-edited educational material and blatant censorship. Sure, the Chinese government has never been shy about its desire to shut up those that don't agree with it, but a recent "heroes and martyrs" law forbids disparaging long dead political and military figures.

The government alone will decide how much praise must be slathered on designated "heroes and martyrs." Criticism has been banned, so citizens are at least clear on that aspect. The law went into effect on May 1st, immediately leading to the ban of a Chinese "rage comic" site. This site is the first to be successfully sued under the new law.

The company behind the popular Chinese “rage comics” that were censored earlier this year for defaming a civil war general has been ordered to pay his relatives 100,000 yuan (US$14,500) in compensation.

Ye Ting fought for the Communists in the war and was jailed for five years after being captured by the opposition Nationalists. Soon after his release in 1946 he was killed in a plane crash.

Seven of Ye’s relatives filed a civil lawsuit for defamation against Xian Momo Information Technology in May, soon after it had been ordered to shut down Baozou Manhua, its online platform for rage comics which at the time was the biggest in the country.

Weirdly, the lawsuit centered on a poem written by Ye during his incarceration, which was featured in a video posted to the site spoofing abortion advertisements. According to the court, this "damaged" the reputation of a man who has been dead for 72 years. The law appears to have enacted some sort of hereditary right -- not completely unlike our nation's copyright terms -- which allows surviving family members to be legally offended on behalf of their dead relatives.

The court also decided the use of a poem in a spoof ad also harmed society in general, further cementing the ridiculousness of this censorial law and the government enforcing it.

Censorship in China is no laughing matter. The efforts are ridiculous, as are the justifications, but the government is dead serious about rehabilitating its image through direct control of the media, rewritten text books, and litigation. The law is likely to remain on the books forever, retroactively assuring the censors and despots of today's government will be shiny, happy heroes of the republic for years to come, forcibly respected by the children and grandchildren of today's silenced critics.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 3 Oct 2018 @ 4:59am

    GDPR. Copyright. Same thing with another name.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Oct 2018 @ 5:56am

    'Our (dead) relative is so thin-skinned ANYTHING will harm him!'

    Weirdly, the lawsuit centered on a poem written by Ye during his incarceration, which was featured in a video posted to the site spoofing abortion advertisements. According to the court, this "damaged" the reputation of a man who has been dead for 72 years.

    Since those in china can't say it without risking legal action, figure I'll do it for them: If that was enough to damage his reputation, his reputation was a joke to begin with.

    In addition I find this, much like religious blasphemy responses, to be if anything even more insulting to the supposedly 'harmed' party than no response at all. We're talking about someone who apparently was willing to be shot at, so the idea that he'd be 'harmed' by someone using a poem he wrote in a spoof ad(even if it was tasteless and/or offensive) merely portrays him as incredibly thin-skinned, with a reputation that falls apart under any sort of pressure or mockery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 3 Oct 2018 @ 7:29am

    Next up

    Chinese government declares themselves all heroes, takes celebratory picture with Erdogan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 7:40am

    This might lead to strange situations where Chinese citizens touring the world could come in contact with others who have a different historical view.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Oct 2018 @ 7:43am

    Confucius says: He who laughs most must be being tickled

    "Censorship in China is no laughing matter."

    But it is! At least if you don't live in China, or plan to travel there, or have any relatives who resided there, or plan to travel there.

    One must certainly wonder what the Chinese government will do about Chinese history scholars who try to tell the truth, but don't have any connections in the country? Will they send agents to try and silence them? Will all books and scholarly papers that conflict with their version of history be collected and burned? Will they manage to track down every library not in China to attempt a worldwide reform? Or use political/trade pressure to achieve compliance?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 7:54am

    thin skinned China Government

    thin skinned democrats.... hmmm...

    well can't just blame them... there are a lot of thin skinned repukes like Trump these days too!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 3 Oct 2018 @ 10:30am

    Does this apply to the people's heros too?

    So then censoring the actions of Tiananmen Square would be disparaging of the brave man that stood in front of the tanks.

    Oh wait it only matters if the government thinks you are a martyr or hero.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 4:34pm

    "If the West can rewrite history, why can't we?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 4 Oct 2018 @ 7:55am

    I'm sure that in not too many years from now, this Chinese move will serve as a fine model for similar actions right here in the good ol' USA--which by then will be under the full control of a genuine Fascist dictatorship, courtesy of the Trump legacy and his idiot-base of millions of fawning supporters. All these people see is that it's not HILLARY!, or that Kenyan-born Socialist-Communist-Muslim-uppity-Negro who spent eight long years gleefully "destroying" America. They joyfully suck in whatever Alex Jones, Breitbart and Fox News shovels at them, like flies eating shit...and now, since January 2017, they are running the damn country. The U.S. "Heroes and Martyrs" law will be enforced, right around the same time the Vaterland forces start rounding up those pesky poor/elderly/disabled/black/brown scum who only stand in the way of the Righteous, Deserving, White, Christian landed-gentry--who are the ONLY ones entitled to the fruits of our Glorious Vaterland and its brave ruling class--etc.,etc.,etc. That's where we're going--get used to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PJ London, 4 Oct 2018 @ 10:47am

    Wonder where they learnt it.

    OMG China is copying the 'Holocaust' laws!
    Who followed :
    “… Every man should endeavour to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late. … It means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the War, will be impressed by all influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for their derision. …to establish sectional superiority and a more centralised form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.” –
    Major General Patrick Cleburne, C.S.A. (Jan. 2, 1864)

    ” To you Sons of Confederate Veterans, we submit the vindication of the cause for which we fought; to your strength will be given the defence of the Confederate soldiers’ good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles he loved and which made him glorious and which you also cherish.
    Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the south is presented to future generations.” —
    Lt. General Stephen Dill Lee, Commander General, United Confederate Veterans, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1906

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Oct 2018 @ 9:24pm

      That's a... telling example there

      ... that was the example you thought would make your argument best? Seriously? Whataboutism, a passing mention of laws from germany, and confederate generals complaining that history wouldn't portray them as shining beacons of justice and morality that they'd prefer?

      Beyond the... novel example you chose, as I noted above, get back to me when the US/'West' makes it illegal to criticize historical figures and maybe you'll have the beginnings of comparable situation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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