Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Censors vs. video, culture, innovation, humor, pretty much the entire Chinese blogsphere

Late last month a seemingly important stage was reached in the maturation process of China's blogsphere with the launch of Bullog.cn, a new website bringing together—a substantial and pertinent alternative to Sina.com's celebrity blogs—the leading liberal and intelligent bloggers around. Earlier this week it was shut down pending the site's registration with the relevant authorities.

Around the same time, China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) announced a new set of regulations aimed at strictly controlling video posted online which, if observed, will effectively cripple the latest trend in the Chinese blogsphere, the creation and posting of video spoofs of cultural, historical and social images. The decision seems to have pitted SARFT against the masses, and most of the big blogging names around—many of which could be found on Bullog as well as having wicked senses of humor—have posted on SARFT this week.


Massage Milk/Wang Xiaofeng:

芙蓉姐姐比减肥产品还有危害性?

Furong Jiejie is more dangerous than weight loss products?

这段时间一直在地方,所以晚上没事看电视,看到的大都是地方台,无聊的时候,就看看特烂的电视剧,但是让我生气的是,电视剧中间插播广告,一插就插20分钟,就是那种电视购物广告,还翻来覆去要播好几遍,后来干脆换台,可是换来换去都是电视购物广告。
我观察了一下,那些丰乳肥臀的电视广告不见了,取而代之的是另外一些不靠谱的电视购物广告。广电总急颁布禁令,取消部分电视购物广告,原因很简单,这些产品带有欺骗性。但是这新一轮的电视购物广告虽然没有了先前黑名单上的产品,但是这些产品我看着还是不靠谱。很多画面不是那些产品带来的效果,傻子都能看出来,这是后期做出来的。
分析广电总急的禁令,其实不难看出,一方面他们不想把电视购物广告一棍子打死,另一方面又要安息民众,所以弄出了一个不伦不类的禁令。也就是说,原先卖减肥药的厂家,现在可以在电视上卖别的坑人。

Been out in the country this past while, so haven't been watching television at night. Most of them are local channels and when I'm bored I'll watch one of the crappy shows. But what ticks me off are the commercials stuck in the middle of the shows, coming in twenty minute stretches. Shopping commercials, and they keep repeating over and over. I change to another channel, but it's all still shopping commercials.
I checked it out, and those breast enlargement commercials are gone, replaced now by even more sketchy shopping commercials. SARFT, in its hasty ban, eliminated some of the shopping commercials, for the very simple reason that those products were fraudulent. Although this new batch of television shopping commercials aren't for products on the previous black list, I still think these products are just as sketchy. A lot of the products featured don't have the effects as advertized, any idiot can see that. These were made after the fact. If one analyzes the SARFT ban, it's actually not hard to see that while they don't want to beat television shopping commercials to death, they also want to give viewers some peace. That's why they've worked out such a nondescript ban. In other words, where once they sold weight-loss formulas, now they can sell other fake things on television.

而且,很奇怪的是,这次是广电总急颁布的禁令。作为一个国家行政部门,当它不允许某些产品的宣传出现在电视上的时候,实际上就意味着这个产品的宣传也不能出现在其他中国境内的媒体上。虽然广电总急管理的是广播电视,实际上这个禁令已经构成了一个国家标准。但这次禁令不包括报纸、杂志、互联网等媒体,这就很让人纳闷了。咱们国家的一个特色就是要封杀什么,就是全面封杀。比如说芙蓉姐姐,在她最火的时候,一道禁令,什么媒体也不能提了。从这个意义上讲,我们能得出一个结论:芙蓉姐姐比那些假冒伪劣产品还具有社会危害性。
其实,我看报纸、杂志和互联网上仍然没有停止广电总急黑名单上的那些产品的广告。既然这些产品的危害性已经很明显了,为什么对其他类媒体就可以网开一面呢?这又不得不让我想起了《动物庄园》里的那句名言:“任何动物都不得两条腿走路,但是有些动物例外。”

And, the weirdest part is that this time the ban was issued directly by SARFT. As a state administrative department, when it forbids the promotion of certain products on television, it in effect implies that promotion of this product cannot appear in any media within China. Although SARFT directly oversees broadcast television, this ban has in fact already become a national standard. But this time the ban does not include newspapers, magazines, the internet or other such media, leaving one wondering. One specialty of this country of ours, when it wants to take something out, it does it very thoroughly. Like Furong Jiejie, for example. When she was at the height of her fame, with just one order, no media were allowed to even mention her. From the significance of this we can come to the conclusion that Furong Jiejie is a bigger threat to society than those counterfeit and cheap products are. Actually, when I read the newspaper, magazines or the internet, I can see that advertisements for those products found on the black list still haven't stopped. Now that it's already been shown how dangerous these products are, why are they still allowed in other media?

IT blogger Keso [zh]

在我的印象中,广电总局这个名字,基本上总是跟“禁令”联系在一起的,或者说,广电总局就是禁令,禁令就是广电总局,一回事。
方军曾经列了一份清单,短短两个月的时间,广电总局就一鼓作气颁布了五六个禁令,颇有官方威仪,沉鱼落雁,闭月羞花,颐指气使,点金成石。
方军说,“中国最保守的部门,从最近看到的一些东西看,大概是广电总局。”我觉得,保守这个词根本不足以形容这个机构的权力和威仪。作为一大串子公司的母公司,应该说,广电总局对自己的亲生子呵护备至,关爱有加。禁令,禁的是外人动自己的奶酪,禁的是别人对可能的新奶酪的优先权,而且,所有的禁令,无不是以最冠冕堂皇的道德形象出现的。广电总局,俨然一个个道德总局。

Whenever I think of the word SARFT, it always seems to be attached to ‘ban’. Or, SARFT is a ban, and bans are SARFT, one and the same. Fang Jun once made a list. In just two short months, SARFT released five or six bans, impressive in the way that officials are; breath-taking, stunning, bossy her, with a touch that turns gold to stone. Fang Jun says, “China's most conservative department, judging from recent events, is pretty much SARFT.” I feel that this word conservative doesn't even come close to describing this department's authority and bearing. As mother company for an even bigger gang of companies, it should be said that SARFT looks after its offspring with the utmost care, love and then some. Bans, bans are when outsiders move your cheese; bans are when other consider the possibility of new cheese a priority. More so, all bans, without exception, are formed and appear with the most righteous of morals. SARFT, it's nothing more than a morality administration.

Ten Years of Chopping Timber [zh]

2006年一批恶搞短片如雨后春笋般冒出来,有关部门连忙发文要加强管理,一些专家学者也大谈恶搞要遵守法律,不能搞人身攻击。这话基本上等于没说,法治国家,和谐社会,干啥子都不能违法,不能侵害他人和公共利益,这是个常识。
作为一种文化现象,恶搞这种形式并不当然违法,就像开车并不当然产生安全事故一样,交警只能对具体的违法进行处罚,同样,恶搞是否违法要分析具体的作品。
我们的民族具有悠久的嘲讽刺谏的传统,诗经中就有老百姓编着歌谣传唱国王“扒灰”的丑闻,这大约算早期具有恶搞精神的文学作品。白居易的《长恨歌》,细究起来也是一种恶搞,他说“汉皇重色思倾国”,可明明讲的是唐明皇和杨玉环那点事,他写到贵妃承恩受宠后,“从此君王不早朝”,唐皇室完全可以李隆基后裔的名义提出名誉权诉讼,你白居易当时根本不在皇宫里面,凭什么说玄宗为了美色耽误了革命工作?上世纪20年代,孔子死了2000多年了,有人演出《子见南子》这类具有恶搞精神的话剧,孔祥熙还以孔门后人的名义提起诉讼。

In 2006 a batch of video short spoofs arose like bamboo shoots following rain, and the relevant departments rushed to issue statements of intent to increase supervision. Some experts and scholars have also emphasized that spoofs must abide by the law, cannot resort to personal attacks. This all might as well not have been said. In a state ruled by law, in a harmonious society, nothing you do can ever break the law. Not being able to infringe upon others’ and public rights and interests is just common sense. As a cultural phenomenon, things like spoofs are not inherently in violation of the law, just like driving does not naturally create accidents. Traffic cops can only punish infractions. Similarly, whether spoofs are illegal or not requires an analysis of the work in question. Our people have a centuries-old tradition of mockery and satire. In The Book of Songs, the ordinary folk wrote a song which whispered of the king's ‘grasping at ashes’ [incest] scandal, probably one of the earliest signs of spoof mentality seen in a work of literature. Bai Juyi‘s Song of Unending Sorrow, if you look carefully, is also another kind of parody. He says, “the Chinese emperor puts aside too much time for his sex life, neglects state affairs, leading to the downfall of the nation,” speaking directly to the Tang Dynasty Emperor Ming and Yang Yuhuan affair…[snip]

Han Han, voice of post-80s Chinese youth [zh]

最近,出现了网络有史以来最恶搞的一件事情,就是广电总局借口英雄的光辉形象被玷污事件,发文禁止恶搞,并要开始对网络视频进行管理。管理以后会是什么结果呢,在广电总局的管理下,我几年前在电视上看到过一个广告,大意是这样的,在公共汽车上,一个老者垂头丧气,人家问,你怎么了。老头说,我得了癌。车上的售票员说,没事,我几年前也得了癌,在前面某站的一个医院治疗了,现在好了。司机接着说,是的,我的癌也是那里治好的。然后一车的乘客纷纷说,我们的癌,都是在那里治好的。
不谈政治,三天胸部变的和脑袋一样大,一个月如同畜生一样要长一分米,十个小时痘痘全没啦,黄金时间不准放国外的动画片等等,全是广电总局的杰作或者管理下的杰作。是不是以后网络视频也要这样呢?看来以后的短片只能丰胸了。

Recently, one of the biggest internet parodies in history has occured, that of the images of SARFT's excuses for heroes being tarnished. They've issued a ban on parodies, and will begin administering online video. What will the outcome of that be? Under SARFT's administration, I saw a commercial on television several years ago, which showed a down-on-his-luck senior citizen. Someone asked, ‘what's up with you?’ The old guy said, I've got cancer. The ticket-seller on the bus said, ‘that's okay, a few years ago I also had cancer; got cured at that hospital just up ahead, and now I'm okay. The driver said, ‘yeah, my cancer was also cured there. Then one-by-one the bus passengers said ‘we all had our cancer cured there.’
Politics talk not allowed, within three days your breasts can grow as big as your head, in a month you can grow ten centimeters, as fast as an animal, have all your zits gone in just ten hours, foreign cartoons not allowed to show during prime viewing time, etc., all are the masterpieces of SARFT's management. Is this what internet video will look like from now on? Seems that from now on video shorts will only increase breast size.

现在禁止了网络恶搞。其实无论是网络恶搞还是网络脏话,全世界都是一样的,大家早就不把这个当回事情了,惟独到了咱们这里,就不行。本来没人注意的事情,因为某些利益,被人为放大。就像MV要建立曲库,不健康歌曲和MV不能收入。我有个疑问就是,什么叫不健康歌曲,你能不能事先先有个标准,比如出现了什么词,什么画面,就叫不健康。做个歌拍个MV挺贵的,别到时候拍好了你随便说个不健康,因为里面出现了一把卷笔刀。还有问题就是,比如你说我不健康,我说我健康,那要不要听证会一下?听证会上的人能不能不是你们请的?如果不行,我能不能上诉法院,说我健康?我总有坚持自己是健康的权利。我也有必要知道,是根据哪条法律,我不健康了。万一我败诉,我也要听法官大声朗诵,本庭宣判,你不健康。我就认了,然后去找广电总局,问问那车人治癌的医院在哪,我去治治。
中国电影这么多年只有退步没有进步,肯定不是电影人的问题。在中国拍电影挺惨的,赚的钱远不如官商勾结搞搞房地产和打打政策擦边球多,还随时不小心拍成一个罪犯。想做点短片吧,电视台的时间全给丰胸和假药了。只能在网络上放。本来在网络的花花世界里,根本没什么人看短片,现在连放都够戗了。是够绝望的。
还好网络上发表文章前,还暂时不用经过新闻出版局的审查。
我还是天真希望,广电总局在管理之余,可以同时想想发展。就像养狗一样,你不能想着光栓住了不让狗咬人。你也得喂喂啊。狗放开了,一不定咬人。但栓久了,还不喂,肯定满脑子想的都是咬人。

Now internet spoofs are prohibited. Actually, no matter if it's internet spoof or dirty talk, the whole world is the same, only they never made an issue out of it. Only here is it not okay. What people once never paid much attention to, because of certain interests, has been blown out of proportion. Just like when MTV wanted to set up a song bank, but unhealthy songs can't be made into music videos. I have a question: what exactly are unhealthy songs? Could you first come up with a definition? Like if they contain a certain word, or a certain image, would then be called unhealthy. Filming a music video is expensive, so don't wait until the video is shot and ready and then come along and suddenly say this song is unhealthy, just because there appears within a set of knives. Another question is, if you say I'm unhealthy, but I say I'm fine, will there be a hearing? If there is, will all the witnesses be invited by you? If not, will I be able to file a lawsuit and take this to the courts and get them to say I'm healthy? I'll always have the right to maintain that I'm healthy. I also must me made known according to which law I'll be classfied as unhealthy. In the case that I lose the lawsuit, I want to hear the judge say loud and clear, ‘this court has reached a verdict, you are unhealthy.’ Then I'll know, and I'll go back to SARFT, ask where that guy on the bus got his cancer cured, and go cure myself.
For so many years, Chinese films have only been regressing, and not improving. Surely this isn't the fault of the filmmakers. Filming a movie in China is quite cruel; the money earned doesn't come close to public-private collusion in the real estate market and the many borderline policies they come out with; if you're not time, you can be cast as a criminal if you're not careful. And if you want to make a short piece, all of the television stations’ time has been given to breast enlargement and fake medicines. The only place left to put it is on the internet. In the happy-go-lucky world of the internet, there weren't that many people watching video shorts to begin with, but it couldn't be more blown out of proportion than it is now. Quite despairing. At least for now, when articles are posted on the internet, examination is not needed from the news and publishing authority. I still truly hope that SARFT, in expanding its management, will at the same time take development into consideration. Just like raising a dog, you can't lock it away just to stop it from biting people. You might as well feed it. When you let the dog out, it probably won't bite anyone. But if you lock it away for good, and don't feed it, then most likely the only thing it will be thinking about is biting people.

Wen Yunchao, author of authoritative weekly web news stories [zh]

防止网上“恶搞”成风
8月10日,光明日报社举办了“防止网上‘恶搞’成风专家座谈会”,对网络“恶搞”展开了舆论攻势。中央外宣办网络局副局长彭波在会上说,“恶搞”搞乱了人们特别是青少年的思想,搞乱了社会大多数人所遵从的主流价值观,包括荣辱观、是非观,也搞乱了现在的道德底线,引起了广大网民和人民群众的普遍不满,必须加以反对。网友对此评论说,如果经典作品“恶搞”一下就搞乱了,那这个作品也太不经典了。也有意见认为,任何作品都应该接受公评,“恶搞”也是公评的一种方式。

Preventing online ‘spoofs’ from becoming a fad
August 10, Guangming Daily held a ‘Preventing Online Spoofs From Becoming a Fad Experts Discussion Meeting’ regarding the launching of a popular opinion offensive via online spoofs. During the meeting, State Council Information Office Internet Department Deputy Director General Peng Bo said ‘spoofs’ meddle with people's—especially youth's—thinking, meddle with the mainstream values many people in society obey, including honor and disgrace, right and wrong, as well as meddle with the current moral bottom line, leaving a vast number of netizens and the masses with a widespread discontent, feeling obliged to oppose Peng. In response to Peng's criticism, netizens said that if a classic work gets messed up through being ‘spoofed’, then this work couldn't have been so classic to begin with. They also had the suggestion that any work should be open to public criticism, that ‘spoofs’ are also another means for public criticism.

广电总局欲监管网络视频
据媒体报道,广电总局目前正在制订的互联网视频新管理条例有望八九月份正式出台,打击清理未获许可证而在网上传播视频节目的网站。报道称,个人要传播视频内容,亦需要领许可证。网络及媒体对此举片几乎是一边倒的讨伐之声,有评论认为,播网络视频是个人的权利,并不能因为存在“恶搞”而限制这种关权利。也有评论指出,广电总局在网络视频问题上主动出击,目的是在与信息产业部争夺网络视频的管理权限。一般认为,互联网应归信息产业部管理。

SARFT yearns to supervise and oversee internet video
According to media reports, SARFT is currently working out new management guidelines for internet video, to be released in August or September which will attack and clean up websites that spread video on the internet but which have not received a license. According to the reports, if an individual wants to spread video content, s/he also needs to be in possession of a license to do so. The internet and media almost all have a slightly oppositional voice in regards to the announcement, criticizing it saying that podcasting is an individual's right, and that this right cannot be deprived just because of the existence of ‘spoofs’. Some criticisms also point out that SARFT is actively launching an attack in dealing with online video with the goal of struggling with the Ministry for Information Industries (MII) over jurisdiction in managing online video. Most people feel the internet should remain under MII's management.

MindMeters columnist Fang Jun: [zh]

中国数字电视标准:什么样的未来?

Digital Televition Standards: What Kind of Future?

中国数字电视标准有了一个相对明确的说法:8月22日,广电总局副局长张海涛说:“数字电视地面传输国家标准即将正式颁布,标准出台之后,……各地广播电视系统要在一年之内强制性转换到国家标准上来。”广电总局副总工程师杜百川说:“即将出台的国家标准,不是推荐性标准,而是强制性标准。提醒业内人士不要提前做无效的投入。”但是,广电总局雄心勃勃的试图控制的数字电视标准会带来什么样的未来呢?

There's a relatively straightforward explanation for China's digital television standards: on August 22, SARFT Deputy Director Zhang Haitao said, “national standards for digital terrestrial television transmission are about to be put into effect. Following the release of the standards, broadcast television systems across the country will be forced to adhere to national standards within a year.” SARFT Vice-President and engineer Du Baichuan says, “the standards about to be released are not suggested standards, but obligatory standards, reminding people within the industry not to make any pointless investments beforehand.” But, SARFT's ambitious attempt to control digital television standards will bring about what kind of future?

对于数字电视标准和围绕中国数字电视地面标准之间的博弈,我还需要进一步搜集信息以便更深入地了解。但对于什么样的标准能够促进繁荣,从电信、互联网的其他标准的历史中,我们是可以找到一些启示的。
影响互联网公共政策的关键人物、著名法学教授劳伦斯·莱斯格(Lessig)在《思想的未来》中有很多精彩分析,他的基本观点是,自由的、作为“公共资源”的网络造就繁荣。他这样定义自由和公共资源:“如何一个人使用某种资源不需任何人的许可,或者所需许可的授予是中立的,那么,这种资源就是自由的。”
互联网应用的大繁荣,是它的基础架构是基于“端对端”(end-to-end)的,也就是“让客户端承担网络应用的开发与创新,而让网络本身保持相对简单。”“由于网络设计实现了平台的中立(这里中立指网络所有者无法对数据包区别对待),因此,网络无法歧视创新者的新设计。倘若某一新应用程序给某一主流应用程序带来威胁,网络也只能袖手旁观。无论何种应用程序,网络都将保持中立。”(Lessig,P.38)“当某个创新者有了一个绝妙的构想时,他可以直接去实现该构想,而无须得到网络本身的授权,并且确信网络不可能歧视他的创新。”
莱斯格有个一般性的总结:“当未来不确定时(或更准确地,当一项技术在未来的应用还无法估测时),对技术不加控制是寻求创新之路的更好办法。”

As for the gambling between digital television standards and cross-China digital terrestrial television, I still need to gather more information to understand the situation better. But as for what kind of standards will hasten the spread, looking at the history of telecom and internet standards, we are able to gain some revelations. A key character in influencing internet public policy, renowned legal professor Lawrence Lessig has some very pertinent analysis in his book The Future of Ideas. His basic stance is that only a free and ‘public resource’ internet will prosper. He defines a free and public resource as such: “any resource, available to anyone, not requiring anyone's permission, or with granting of any necessary permission being neutral, only then would said resource be free. The prosperity of internet applications, its basic structure, is based upon ‘end-to-end’. Or, “letting the customer end take part in the opening up and innovation of internet applications, and keeping the basic nature of the internet relatively simple.” “Due to that the design of the internet has created a neutral…platform, refrain from increasing control over the internet is the best option of roads in the quest for innovation.”

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.