Monday, November 22, 2010

"The Grass Horse Has Been Harmonized"

Recently, Chinese government authorities a cancelled a conference for bloggers in Shaghai. Blogging is wildly popular in China, which has the largest number of internet users in the world. But a small percentage of bloggers discuss politics critically, and that annoys authorities. Some bloggers have been arrested and are serving prison time.

When the conference website was shut down, "organizers found a way to poke fun at censors: when visitors to the conference's censored home page pressed Ctrl-A—the common computer command for 'select all'—it highlighted previously hidden text that read, in Chinese, 'The grass mud horse has been harmonized.' Grass mud horse is a famous anticensorship pun in China's Internet world—its characters form a homophone for an obscene phrase—and 'harmonize' is a euphemism for censorship, playing off President Hu Jintao's longstanding campaign to create a 'harmonious society.'

See Juliet Ye and Jason Dean,"China Blogger Conference Is Canceled Under Pressure," Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2010.

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