from the how-to-look-small-and-petty dept
It's pretty common knowledge at this point that the Chinese government spends a great deal of time and effort attempting to censor the internet at its own whim. And, while the walls of censorship erected are penetrable with enough effort, it still results in much of the population being unable to search out information that might be embarrassing to the Chinese government, such as references to the Tiananmen Square incident, for instance. But while examples like that can make some measure of sense to outside observers, even as they still decry the censorship, the fact is that the Chinese government's application of this censorship has been managed so erratically and unpredictably that the result is everyone watches where they step for fear of a takedown.
Which naturally brings us to Lady Gaga, whose meeting with the Dalai Lama recently resulted in the Chinese government attempting to wipe her off of the China-facing interwebz.
Hong Kong news outlet Apple Daily reports that China’s Ministry of Propaganda and SARFT, the regulatory body that oversees media, ordered China’s broadcast and websites to stop offering Lady Gaga songs. They also ordered media outlets not to publish anything (link in Chinese) about Lady Gaga’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, other than what prominent state-media publications have written.
“[Media outlets] must resolutely struggle against Tibetan independence, and closely follow reports from CCTV, the Global Times, People’s Daily, and other reports and commentary from central media outlets,” the directive reads, according to Apple Daily.
The Tibet issue is one that China regularly regulates in terms of coverage, of course, and the Dalai Lama is the worldwide person of focus for the cause of Tibetan indpendence. Even so, reacting to a meeting with an American pop singer by attempting to scrub the internet of news of the meeting and her music seems delightfully ham-fisted, even for Chinese censorship. And, as per usual, it isn't working particularly well.
A search on QQ Music, one of China’s most popular music streaming sites, shows there’s still plenty of Lady Gaga music available.
Which makes, as usual, the attempt at censorship come off as both petty and the wild flailings of an ineffective government agency. That, I would assume, is not the perception that the Chinese government was hoping to achieve. There will come a day when this particular government finally understands that these censorship attempts don't work in any way other than to supply a great deal of egg on its collective face, but that day is apparently not today.