Smart censors

22 Aug

Here’s a little story about censorship in China, that a friend here told me. I will just share it here, with his analysis.

There was a TV series about a party leader who used government liquidities for stock market speculation – returning the ‘borrowed’ amount after a few days, keeping the profits to himself. The first episodes aired – and had a lot of success. Then the government decided to ban the series – but people could still access it on the internet – and did, massively. The series end well for everyone, the bad guy  is arrested, and the purity of the party restored.

‘Subtle’, said my friend. The censors had seen the show before the first episode was broadcast, and they let it go – indicating that criticism of corruption in the party was possible. Then, they decided to ban the series – to show that you could not criticize too much – although they knew the image of the party was going to be restored in the end. And those who kept watching found out precsily that, from a show that had been banned – giving the final redeeming much more credit.

‘They’re very smart,’ my friend said, ‘very subtle’. Nowhere near as dumb as we like to think of censors.

Any other testimonies on that question?


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