The Great Fig Leaf of China
China likes to leave a little to the imagination. Like when five o’clock rolls around and Google searches become about as surefire as capturing a stuffed animal in a claw game (can’t … resist … trying). Are China’s censors playing “the connection was reset” game with us again (they love that game), or did our colleagues all just turn on Tudou at the same time? Quite possibly the latter, but China’s censorship department has certainly been busy lately. Earlier this week, those guardians of morality at CCTV erected (tee hee) a timely “mosaic” to protect the public’s virgin eyes from some famous Italian JJs. (CCTV’s “mosaic” is not a piece of art, it is the absence of it. That’s SOEs for you. While they’re at it, just add that mosaic to all 42 of my 45 channels that CCTV occupies, and we’ll call it a day.) The censors have also taken the snippers to Goliath’s balls, metaphorically at least: That titan of finance, Bloomberg, is still being slapped around like some small, independent media outlet, instead of the pillar of awesomeness that most Westerners think it is.
Of course, some parties (we assume not Bloomberg or the David) are secretly or perhaps just incorrectly flattered that the state considers them important enough to censor (“It shows he cares!”). As Evan Osnos writes, Google’s new pretty pink banner proclaiming “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer” may just be next season’s status symbol inside the Beltway. After all, evading censorship is not hard for those willing to kowtow a little – you just have to understand the censors’ motivation. That means no trying to provoke collective actions, no throwing shoes, and no criticizing the censors – oops.
New kid on the block
Summer is here, and it’s prepubescent China’s first day at the pool. While sarcastic, occasionally aggressive and obviously misunderstood, China really just wants to be cool. Everyone already thinks it’s “weird” just because China happens to enjoy piranha hunting and tiger penises, so you can understand why it has to try so hard. Maybe if that fat kid the US would just leave it alone – it already tattled on China to the WTO for its car tariffs, and pr
omises that it will “pay a price” for disagreeing on foreign policy (that booger Hillary Clinton said this). Or, if the rich neighbor Japan would stop trying to take China’s second favorite island chain by flashing its cash and making fun of China’s Pandas, China wouldn’t have to lash out and splash like it did to old, sick Europe. China is not a bad kid, you just have to understand where it’s coming from. Growing up is hard to do.