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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.

宅居动物的外形酷似人类,长着人类那样大大的眼睛和耳朵。他那奇特的生活方式至今还让人们叹为观止。表面上他们各自为阵、互不往来,但实际上他们通过一种叫网络的东西,互相联系。

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.

对于其他动物而言,幽深的网络往往难以捉摸。这里充满的各种危险。在地球上,没有比神秘的互联网更可怕,更不利于生物生存的地方了。但是,对于宅居动物来说,这里,却是天堂。

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.

曾有一度,网络上的色情,和不良信息,使他们的身心受到了伤害,但现在,他们受到了来自人类的无微不至的关怀和保护。

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’.

思考强迫症,是一种普遍存在于宅居动物中的疾病。这只雄性每天都要花大量的时间去思考各种各样的问题。这种病,不但具有极大的危害性,而且,还具有一定的传染性。因此,人类采取了一切可能的措施,来保护这些可爱的小动物。

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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