Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Chinese model, and persecutory times for the church of Kopimism ...

(Above: click to enlarge).

Amongst the joys of the intertubes is the way you can stumble across something new everyday, even an abundance of variants on cliched opening lines ...

The China Digital Times is currently blocked in mainland China, but you can head off to its site here.

It's a rich source of information about China, but it also has a sense of humour, reprinting examples of censorship instructions issued by various central or local government authorities (naturally referred to as directives from the Ministry of Truth).

From the directives for July 5 - September 28th 2011, there are any number of prime cuts:

From the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee: In order to demonstrate the superiority of Chinese socialist democracy and people as the master of the country, all media outlets are to actively publicize local election for representatives of the People’s Congress. Please note: News reports regarding independent candidates or election workshops are strictly prohibited.

No stone is left unturned, no detail considered unworthy of investigative reporting:

From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not report, comment on, or hype up the series of vicious murder cases in Guiyang county of Hunan province or the homicide case in Botou city of Hebei province.

There are dozens of other examples, and if you hunger for even more, then you can take a look at the latest directives from the Ministry of Truth, April 11-April 19th 2011.

From the State Council Information Office: Websites are not to report or hype the story “At Guangdong Petrol, ‘Alcohol purchased at sky-high prices.’” Reports that have already been posted must be deleted immediately. On-line forums, blogs, micro-blogs, and other interactive spaces are not to circulate the story. Delete harmful information meant to attack the Party, government, and social system.

And how about the directives from the Ministry of Truth for June 6-29 2011?

Shanghai: netizen Xia Shang

From the Propaganda Department of the Shanghai Municiple Party Committee: a certain netizen, Xia Shang, has claimed online that he will take part in the National People’s Congress election. No news unit will interview this person, report or propagate [the story]. Journalists will have no contact with this person.

On one level - outside the madness - it's amusing, unless you suddenly imagine yourself as a netizen deemed a non-person.

And what to make of this one?

State Information Office: “Cherishing Chiang Kai-shek”

From the State Information Office: All websites, especially interactive links, will immediately delete the article “Cherishing Chiang Kai-shek” and all related commentary.

The pond has long been a fan of Chiang Kai-Shek, ever since visiting his mansion in Shanghai. The general might not have done much for China, but he knew how to live in style with his wife (and some allege, a mistress or two).

It turns out the mansion is something of a tourist attraction, especially for Taiwanese, but in China, you can go too far, and so the thought police disappear your most cherished thoughts of Chiang.

It's all good fun so far as it goes - a reminder of just how totalitarian the Chinese government remains and how it is from providing a free flow of information to its citizenry - but there's a non-Chinese fly in the ointment, and an American sting in the tail, because thanks to the MPAA, the American entertainment industry, Chris Dodd, entertainment lawyers, and SOPA, the Chinese variety of internet censorship is now all the go.


If you're wondering why lawyers and Hollywood folks would get behind legislation to censor the Internet, you only need to listen to former Senator Chris Dodd, now the head of the MPAA, who last week explained to Variety that the lobby is only asking for the same kind of power to censor the Internet as the government has in the People's Republic of China:

"When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn't do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites." (here).

Ah yes, China as the model.

This has led to some concern in the United States:

(and more here).

Well it took a lot of persecution to give the Christian religion impetus, and it seems that the American entertainment industry is hell bent on doing the same for the Church of Kopimism ...

Hmm, before time runs, must perform an act of Kopimism with the remaining episodes of Portlandia.

Oh sure the show has been released on DVD, but in region one, and of course if you obey the laws of the luddite industry, you'd never attempt to screen a region one disc in region four. And it screens on Netflix, but Netflix is geo limited. And you can catch it on IFC, that's if you can catch IFC ...

Second season's running right now in the United States. Oh what to do, what to do?

Never mind, there will always be scolds with bridles, and explanations of financing and release models, and the importance of territorial restrictions, but in this inter-connected age, the pond prefers a simpler explanation:

Read it and weep.

Just last night the pond caught an advertisement wherein Sony urged punters to buy tunes from iTunes. And to think, it was only in October 2005 that iTunes launched in Australia, to the gnashing and wailing of music industry teeth ... and finally Sony, which has always been run by a siege lawyer mentality, seems to have caught on ...

Meanwhile, the Chinese model beckons, and there in the background, willing to help out the American entertainment combine, are US legislators, and an industry run by dinosaurs and entertainment lawyers ...

Sadly in a sordid, chequered career, the pond has met way too many entertainment lawyers, and truth to tell, the best thing about being an entertainment lawyer is to devise a hundred page contract explaining in detail that there will be NO net profits. So your share of nothing will be ... nothing ...

Meanwhile, lurking in the antipodes, ready with his giant internet filter, and anxious to do the bidding of his Hollywood and Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement masters lurks Senator Stephen Conroy ... the Aussie oi oi answer to the Chinese government ...

Can you buy a sense of humour on iTunes?

(Below: click to enlarge).


  1. By Jings, DP, you've hit on something here.
    Me & the other 9 Old White Blokes who write letters for Roop's Daily are about to meet to set the agenda for the week. The oppressive brutality of the Chinese regime must be met by a more robust application of technologies. Our theme for the week will be "More war toys".

  2. Download of the (last) year: Bored to Death.

  3. Oh Herbert, what a tempter you are ...


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