How the Chinese thwart web censorship

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Beijing (AFP) – Extracts from the national anthem, hints at destructive songs: The Chinese are showing innovation in thwarting online censorship and expressing their dissatisfaction with anti-Kovid restrictions.

China closely monitors the Internet. Censorship removes content that misrepresents or disturbs state policy.

However, censorship is now in full swing to protect the untouchable national strategy of the “Zero Cowid”, under which most of Shanghai’s 25 million inhabitants have been confined since the beginning of April.

Many are expressing their frustration on the Internet, frustrated by the supply of fresh products, access to non-coveted medical services, and problems with sending people to the quarantine center for testing.

Charlie Smith, co-founder of the site, which monitors Chinese censorship, says Shanghai’s content has “become so important that it cannot be completely censored.”

Especially since internet users compete on innovation to make it fail.

Delete a photo or video? To cut off the automatic filtering software of sensors that work with artificial intelligence, it is often enough to trim the edges or invert them like a mirror.

Is a comment censored? Internet users use hints or pun.

In Shanghai, instead of writing a scathing critique, some shared a hashtag that took the first words of the national anthem: “Get up! We don’t want to be slaves anymore” …

It was eventually censored, but only after the sensor was caught.

Wretched man

Another strategy: Anti-containment Internet users have flocked to the film and book review site to keep the dystopian novel “1984” at the top of the rankings, thanks to their online votes.

The purpose was achieved before the sensor could intervene again.

Overwhelmed, the latter, however, failed to stop the viral propaganda of a video titled “Voice of April” last month, which was compiled into a six-minute story of the miserable Shanghai in the face of captivity.

With the slightest change in this six-minute video, Internet users have been able to deactivate the filtering software, which can only initially detect – and therefore censor – the original version.

The fight went on for hours before the sensors eliminated all versions that were in circulation. But it was time for millions of people to watch the video.

Outraged by the censorship, many Internet users then shared two protest song clips on the WeChat social network: “Can you hear people’s songs?” (From the musical “Les Miserables”) and “Another Brick in the Wall” (from the Pink Floyd band).

The first is the call for rebellion. The second specifically criticizes “thought control.”


Shanghai is now “willing to pay the price” for spreading critical comments on the Internet, Lucie Lui, a former journalist who teaches at Hong Kong Baptist University, told AFP.

The “hardship, resentment and anger” associated with captivity “transcends the fear of punishment,” he believes.

Gao Ming, a 46-year-old Chinese man, told AFP that police had called him last month to remove anti-lockdown messages posted on Twitter and Facebook – all platforms that were not accessible from China.

He declined because he said he was “anti-censorship” and “completely against current policy”, adding that the Shanghai captivity was a cause of “unnecessary death” and “severely disrupted access to non-cowardly medical care.”

The public media almost exclusively emphasizes the positive aspects, ignoring the personal difficulties of the residents.

But the Communist Party on Thursday reiterated its “irresistible” support for Zero Kovid and called for a “strong fight against all words and actions” that would make it questionable.

Yakiu Wang, China manager at Human Rights Watch, an American human rights organization, noted that since the Chinese president himself had defended the health policy, it was unlikely to be relaxed.

“It is difficult for the government to back down on an ideological issue that is personally related to Xi Jinping.”

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