The Washington Post obtained a list of keywords used by a Chinese blog service provider to flag offensive material. Of 236 items on the list, only 18 were obscenities. The rest were related to politics or current affairs.
"Most words on the list can be posted on Chinese Web sites, but their presence quietly alerts editors to examine the messages that contain them and possibly take action. In tests, postings that included long sections of the list were allowed to remain on several sites, but quickly removed from others. One site also blocked the computer used to conduct the tests from posting anything else.
In addition, on most sites, at least some of the sensitive phrases cannot be posted at all. Depending on the site, filters replace the offending words with asterisks or block the entire message."
Here's some of the items on the Hit List -
Names of People
There's a long list of Chinese names here. Among them Du Zhaoyong, Jian Yanyong, Xu Zhiyong, Yang Dongping - presumedly all Communist Party bigwigs. But I couldn't find Hu Flungdung anywhere.
It's a given that mentioning Falan Gong in any context is absolutely Verboten. But amongst other stuff it's strictly forbidden to talk about is the phrase "block the road and demand back pay". That's subversive. And for heavens sake steer away from "set fires to force people to relocate". It didn't happen, never will happen and even if it did we don't talk about it. The fire's long out, baby.
Specific Issues and Events
"Cat abuse" - stay away from pussy. We don't torture them, kill them or eat them. Cats aren't cool, dig?
"Fetus Soup". Don't even mention it. It's a stillborn issue.
Buy corpses - it's a dead issue of dead tissue.
"Top Ten Worst Cities". How dare you! All our cities are fragrant flowers.
"Hire a killer to murder one's wife" - doesn't happen in Chinese society. Just Imperialist propaganda or the name of a Hong Kong Kung-Fu flick.
We don't talk about or link to stories regarding - "Taiwan"(natch), "Ethnic minorities", "Indonesia" (?), "North Korea falls out with China", "Paris Riots" (but they have her under control now),
"Tsunami" (what Tidal Wave?) and "Tiananmen Square" - for the millionth time - it didn't happen. It was just some high school kids on muck-up day.
And perhaps the most important thing not to talk about is, according to the list - "Censorship - cleaning and rectifying Web Sites".
Whoever put this list of Chinese No-Nos out is surely deserving of some sort of prize? Perhaps it could be dubbed The 1984 Big Brother Award? But then the Americans are pretty good at this sort of thing too. You seen the list of sites banned to American Servicemen? Go here to wonkette.com Isn't that unbelievable? What happened to Freedom of the Press? Freedom of choice? Freedom to make your own fucking mind up what websites you want to read? No wonder they say 72% of servicemen want to get the hell out of Iraq and go home this year. You reading this Jaybird?
Psst! Before the Chinese Thought Police close me down - you can get around The Great Firewall by using a circumventer - effectively software that allows you to surf the Web using a computer outside of China. Go here to National Public Radio (NPR) and listen to a programme that tells you all about it and how to get the Free Circumventer Software