[Sensitive China] Word censorship under CCP’s dictatorship

Translator: VOG-M. Author: An anonymous mainlander. Cover-Pic: VOG-WenXi

This article uses WeChat as an example. But be careful of TikTok or any CCP’s software.

Ever since China entered the age of the internet, CCP controlled media designated countless amount of sensitive words, deleted millions of articles and blocked tens of thousands of internet users. They have built the tallest ‘firewall’ that the world has ever seen, cut off communication with the outside world and make China an information prison. 

As a nation with 1.4 billion citizens, no newspapers are truly free, a country that is more than 9 million square kilometers, there was no place where free speech thrives, and this is China’s monument of shame. 

People often remind one another, avoid using sensitive words, otherwise, police from CCP will start tracking you, stalking you, require a face-to-face time, or if necessary, arrest you and press criminal charges. Of course, most people worry about the people around them and their personal well-being, thus avoid using sensitive words. But a bigger question is, why should there be censored words in the first place? Chinese words originated from 5,000 years of Chinese history, but 7,000 of these words were not allowed to be used on the internet, and the CCP gave these words a glorified name, “sensitive words”.

Living in China is a sulking experience, I can’t send anything to my friend on WeChat if it contains human rights, rule of law, democracy, constitution, freedom, corruption, even socialism and CCP, all of these topics that can trigger a deep conversation, make people think, have all become sensitive words. This kind of inquisition towards language, censorship of words, twisting of words, all of these is a massive social engineering program, and the goal is to lower the quality of any sort of public debate. I have encountered such accidents many times, can’t share thoughts or comments, this kind of anger, I don’t know who I can confide to, and I don’t know how to get it out. After feeling angry, I also feel afraid, I’m afraid that my article contains too many sensitive words, that might attract the police, and they could take me to the station. China is a country that makes you fear and angry at the same time. All government branches exist to insert fear, every time when I see Chengguan (city police, government-hired thugs) and the police all I feel is fear, though I have done nothing wrong. 

Cellphones need real ID registration (real-name system), if I intentionally enter one number of my ID serial number wrong, registration will fail; if I intentionally enter one of the letters of my name wrong, registration will fail; at the end, the only thing that I can do is to enter all real information, this is extremely terrifying, it feels like big brother is watching my every move. China has a massive real-name system, and I believe it is called “Skynet”, have you ever watched a Hollywood movie called “Eagle Eye”? The “Skynet” system in China is exactly that, and the CCP spent trillions building up this massive network, with unimaginable sophistication, it can run a background check of all 1.3 billion registered Chinese citizens in under 1 hour. This is a powerful system that’s everywhere and knows everything. China is like a fish farm, the fish can’t really see what’s going on out there, but the fish farmer sees everything. The Chinese ministry of the foreign press always brag about the CCP’s unmeasurable contribution to the word by feed its 1.3 billion people, the truth is, the fish makes sure the fish farmer always has something to eat. 

WeChat is one of the most important building blocks of “Skynet”, it collects all its users’ voice and fingerprint. At the same time, it collects all the purchase behavior of every individual (WeChat Pay), which provides valuable data when it comes to individual income tax. There is no other APP that’s scarier than WeChat. 

The CCP also use WeChat to track every single person that’s inside your friends’ group, whether or not one of these people is your family member, the tracking system would know instantly. Behind every single WeChat account, there will be your personal ID, through WeChat big brother knows where you are, and through that, they can open any camera or your cellphone camera to wiretap you. 

WeChat monitors every user around the clock, including video surveillance and monitoring. Speech Voice SMS will be uploaded and retained for 3 years for inspection. At the same time, it can locate you at any time, and synchronize with hundreds of millions of cameras around China. Once WeChat is installed you will not be able to delete or close, shutting it down is an illusion, the software continues to work in the background. 

About network monitoring, I want to talk about my opinion: I teach computers, also run software companies, I also program, my proficiency is at the system analyst level, and some of my friends manage public security computer systems. In reality, people in China are completely unprotected in front of the government’s public security system.

However, there are at least 500 million Internet users in China, and it is impossible to monitor closely because the data flow is astronomical. You can only use the program to roughly detect sensitive words, then to some extent handle them manually.

The data transmitted by the Internet is to divide the actual data into several data packets, and then the data could be analyzed. The amount of data that is generated from ordinary netizen’s internet chatting is astronomical and cannot be recorded.

I have calculated that if Tencent wants to record all chat messages, they need to add at least 25,000 computers with 1TB hard drives every day!

Therefore, only the contents of the data packet can be detected for sensitive words: 1. texts are the easiest form to detect. A 10,000-word article can be proofread for sensitive words in about one-thousandth of a second. So, it’s best not to send a sensitive text! 2. Audio search is difficult. It usually takes minutes to search for sensitive words in an audio chat, so WeChat is not allowed to forward audio. 3. The most difficult is the graphics. If the government wants to identify sensitive words contain in graphics, it will consume a lot of computer resources. Mrs. Flower (an internet outlaw) is extremely clever. She puts sensitive words into graphs, which is basically impossible to identify.

As for any celebrity, they are all being tracked closely, not only that, there will be people assigned to follow them and take notes. 

Cui Yongyuan dares say. Brave!

I don’t have any better suggestions. If you are an average netizen, you don’t need to worry.

It is estimated that the detection system has a database of sensitive words. When detecting, the words in the data packet are compared with the words in the database. If they matched, they are blocked and counted automatically. When a certain number is reached, someone will inform the police, then the police will require face time with the “questionable netizen”, or the account will be blocked permanently.

1. Try to avoid sensitive words, and use typos or even English instead;
2. The text should be converted into pictures with sticky notes, or take screenshots with cell phones which will convert texts into pictures
3. If none of the pictures can be sent out, it means that the picture has been manually identified as a sensitive file, and has been put into the database. If you want to forward or send the picture anyway, you can change the file name or rotate the graph by 90 degrees.

In fact, even when there was no Internet, the PRC has been a police state since its founding in 1949 and has always closely monitored its people. The Internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the authorities can easily monitor ordinary people through new technologies. On the other hand, netizens have also obtained a lot of sensitive information through the Internet.

Chinese and the CCP are two sides that fight with each other and the internet is the stage.

The standard for sensitive words is not constant. We need to speak ou to raise the bar of sensitive words little by little. Otherwise, when everyone stays silent, the number of sensitive words will increase.

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Jan. 20, 2020