China: Amateur short film satirizes internet censorship

Famous amateur film-maker, Hu Ge, has recently made a new satirical piece on the Internet censorship in China. The 7-minute piece, ‘Animal World: the Home-living Animal’ is styled as an animal-planet type of documentary and has attracted hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of a few days. The piece presents to the audience the so-called ‘home-living animals’, who are in fact China’s tens of millions of netizens.


The home-living animals bear close resemblance to the human beings with big, human-like eyes and ears. Their unique life-style fascinates many people even today. On the surface, they appear separate from and do not communicate with each other. However, they maintain close contact with each other through something called the Internet.


To other species, the Internet appears to be a deep and unfathomable place, filled with all forms of dangers. On this planet, nothing is more terrifying and more lethal than the mysterious Internet. However, for the home-living animals, the Internet is a paradise.

The film portrays various common patterns of using the Internet. For instance, we see a ‘female home-living animal’ who runs a private textile business simply by utilizing her computer all day; a male flirts with his potential lover by showing off his muscle in front of the computer camera while elsewhere a naked male surfs the Internet while tucked up inside his blanket.

In the film, the ‘human beings’ are portrayed as paternalistic figures who lovingly protect the home-living species by weeding out unhealthy material on the Internet.


Once upon a time, there was a flood of pornography and other unhealthy information on the Internet, which had caused damage to the living animals’ minds and bodies. But now they have received comprehensive and universal care and protection from the human beings.

One form of this ‘care and protection’ is shown when a male home-living animal is on the verge of tears, when his enjoyment of an unexpectedly violent scene taken from the film Hero has been interrupted by a full-screen warning message

Han Han, the tremendously popular blogger who is famous for his witty criticism of authority, is cast in the film as a male home-living animal afflicted with ‘Compulsive Thinking Disorder’.


Compulsive Thinking Disorder is a commonly found disorder among the home-living animals. For instance, this male (Han) spends a lot of time thinking about all sorts of questions every day. The Compulsive Thinking Disorder is not only immensely debilitating, but also highly contagious. Therefore, the human beings have taken all possible measures to protect these cute little animals from this kind of disorder.

In the film, we see that Han finishes writing a blog, but it is forever stuck in the ‘under review’ phase until his computer finally crashes. What happens to another home-living male is far worse. After he finishes an article, a team of plainclothes police break into his room and carry him away.

The Home-living Animal has a resemblance to another amateur film, The War of Internet Addiction, which touches on the recent ban on the World of Warcraft game. But for many people, it is seen as a powerful criticism of control in general and has attracted at least millions of views. Up to now, both of these films have curiously survived the Internet censorship.


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