In China, a new wave of censored terms accompanied the Chinese Communist Party's announcement to amend the constitution to allow a president to serve more than two consecutive terms. In the lot, the letter "N" was tentatively banned on Weibo, the local Twitter.
This is not a surprise, Internet censorship in China is fierce. In addition to filtering the network to block information coming from outside, via the Great Firewall of the Middle Kingdom, which acts on the same principle as the Great Wall of China (prevent the intrusion into the country of elements foreigners), there is a relentless watch on what is said inside the borders.
Thus, subjects related to the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, which were harshly repressed thirty years ago, the independence of Taiwan or Tibet, the Dalai Lama, pornographic content, the spiritual movement Falun Gong, considered a cult by the authorities, to democracy, freedom of the press or freedom of expression are regularly banned.
CC Manuel JosephThis censorship is obviously evolutionary. Depending on the news, terms, press articles or expressions can be put on the Index. Thus, when the Arab Spring started, the word "Egypt", in its written form with Chinese characters, was censored. Beijing had no desire to see the same aspirations flourish in the minds of the Chinese.
This ability to adapt censorship has been observed recently with the forthcoming amendment of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, as desired by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Its central committee intends to remove the limit of two consecutive presidential terms, so that the current president, Xi Jinping, 64, can stay in power longer.
Xi Jinping.CC Luci HarrisonXi Jinping is completing his first five-year term, and is scheduled to begin the second term in March 2018. At the end of this term, in 2023, he will approach 70 years of age. This advanced age obviously does not scare the current head of state or the circles of power that are close to him, even if the hypothesis of a presidency for life is not considered credible by the specialists of China.
But to the extent that the CCP's plans to change the constitution to meet Xi Jinping's ambitions are not guaranteed to win the unanimous approval of the people, even though it is said that the current president enjoys good image in the country, undoubtedly partly thanks to the cult of the personality to which the power is given, a certain number of keywords have been recently banned.
CC Nicolas de CamaretCensorship is active on Weibo, the local equivalent of Twitter. Among the terms found by the China Digital Times website are words such as "disagreement", "personality cult", "immortality", "perpetual", "shameful", "10,000 years" (an expression for " long life to ") or" Xi Jedong ", a merger between Xi Jiping and Mao Zedong.
These are of course their equivalents written in sinograms that have been cut.
But stranger, it turns out also the letter "N" has also been temporarily blocked. We do not know why, but according to Victor H. Mair, professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, this measure may have been taken by fear in Beijing, to see the challenge take a mathematical form, with the letter "N" then being understood as a variable.
– Sandra F Severdia (@underbreath) February 25, 2018
"It is probably out of fear on the part of the government that 'N' = 'n' mandates in function ', with' n '2' as in 'liánrèn n jiè 连任 n 届' ('n successive terms in office') , which would be prohibited anyway because of the liánrèn part? ? ("To continue in function"), writes the sinologist. This is only a hypothesis, but it is considered plausible by a good connoisseur of Chinese censorship.
"[Les censeurs] probably determined that it was sensitive and then decided to add this content to the blacklist to prevent others from publishing something similar," said the Guardian who co-founded GreatFire.org, a service that wants to offer Chinese Internet users a platform to bypass the Great Firewall of the Middle Kingdom
"I doubt they thought about it that much, the letter 'N' was a temporary victim of this hasty decision," he adds. Moreover, according to China Digital Times, the measure was lifted in the day of February 26. On the other hand, it can be noted that other letters that could have been used in the same way, such as "X" or "Y", did not suffer the same inconvenience.
Photo Credit of Neil Conway