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China: Not Tweeting a Revolution

It seems premature, Anonymous speculated on February 20, for the Jasmine Revolution to spread to China. Although seen by some as a joke from the onset, Chinese Twitter users tweeted furiously for two weeks and created a stir the main result of which has been numerous arrests, assaults on journalists, and the 50 Cent Party‘s expansion onto Twitter. References to the Kaohsiung Incident have stopped.

So, are the people who feigned to stand up to the all-powerful Chinese authorities to demand freedom and democracy crazy, irrelevant, or just cowardly? Below are a number of tweets which represent much of the discussion leading up February 20, the first day of China's Twitter-based ‘Jasmine Revolution’.

February 16, before the initial anonymous call to gather had been made:

https://twitter.com/kielboat/status/37837151110434816
去年的研究即发现,推特已经成为当局统治的工具之一,用来收集异议者和社会活跃人士的言论和活动信息。所以,推特革命与推特统治是推特政治的两个方面。
7:34 PM Feb 16th

Research from last year discovered that Twitter has already become one of the main tools authorities use to maintain rule, collecting comments and information about activities from dissidents and social activists. Which is why Twitter revolutions and rule through Twitter are two sides to Twitter politics.

https://twitter.com/kielboat/status/37887037289799681
埃及之后,中国的互联网和社运将面临更艰险、诡谲的环境。光诚事件,禁乞事件,只是开始吧。
10:52 PM Feb 16th

Post-Egypt, China's activists and social movements face a tough and tricky environment. The Chen Guangcheng incident, banning beggars, these are just the beginning.

February 18, when the anonymous post had already appeared but was yet to receive much notice:

https://twitter.com/zeroyeung/status/38291154021777408
@myen 民主只需要8岁的智慧,另外需要不精明不世故,不被封建古文化污染的年轻的心,我想中国的民主可能最能依靠的是青年人了。据说90后很自私,我想自私是民主可能发生的最好原因.民主就是有效率的自私.
1:38 AM Feb 18th

Even an 8-year-old can understand democracy. You don't need to be clever or sophisticated, but you do need a young heart untainted by ancient feudal culture. The best chance for democracy in China rests with its young people. They say the Post-90s generation is selfish, but I think selfishness is one of the best reasons why democracy can occur. Democracy is just efficient selfishness.

https://twitter.com/startime/status/38528431352193024
我怎么觉得茉莉花革命有点像国宝为了经费编出来的呢?
5:21 PM Feb 18th

Why do I get the feeling that the Jasmine revolution was set up by the domestic security department as a way to up their funding?

February 19:

https://twitter.com/qiuqiuaibaozi/status/38811105337806848
明天茉莉花革命集会?谁发起的?感觉好莽撞都没有准备;至少该先攻占(技术攻占)电视台来蛊惑下大众效果会比较好吧
12:04 PM Feb 19th

Is there a Jasmine gathering tomorrow? Who initiated it? This all seems reckless and out of nowhere; at least we should first go storm the TV stations to confuse people, for better effect.

https://twitter.com/wentommy/status/38630103810310144
新浪脖友:有开枪的政府,不一定有跪倒的民众;有跪倒的民众,一定有开枪的政府。
12:05 AM Feb 19th

Sina Weiboer: The government will shoot, but that doesn't necessarily mean the people will kneel. However if the people do kneel, the government will definitely shoot.

https://twitter.com/wentommy/status/38631600128270336
一个决定对民众开枪的政府,不会制造冤案,只有赤裸裸的屠杀。
12:11 AM Feb 19th

A government which decides to shoot doesn't worry about injustice, it only worries about how to slaughter everyone.

https://twitter.com/cxzj/status/38813823561498624
当局因“中国茉莉花革命”消息攻击博讯网站纯属吃饱撑得,放开了传明天上街也都是去购物的。
12:15 PM Feb 19th

Authorities’ response to news of the “Chinese Jasmine Revolution”, attacking Boxun, is totally useless. Even if they were to just let the news spread, everyone on the streets tomorrow will still all be shoppers.

https://twitter.com/cxzj/status/38816438282240000
中国现在根本就不具备“茉莉花革命”的群众思想基础,你连大学生在学校里“罢灶”的革命都掀不起来,哪来的革命?空喊“革命”只能损害异议群体自己本来已经不多的公信力。
12:25 PM Feb 19th

The Chinese public today isn't anywhere close to having the ideological foundation required for a “Jasmine revolution”. Chinese university students today can't even be bothered to cross the street to avoid the canteen food they won't stop complaining about, so forget about any revolution. Shouting “revolution” only hurts the dissident community which was already lacking in credibility to begin with.

https://twitter.com/startime/status/38829181391478785
说实话,所谓的茉莉花革命,越看越像经费行动
1:16 PM Feb 19th

To be honest, this so-called Jasmine revolution is looking more and more like a funding fishing expedition.

https://twitter.com/startime/status/38832689306013696
作为国宝,发动革命宣传攻势不仅可以增加收入,而且可以对上说这是“狼来了”的战术,多次虚假革命消息可以让反动分子不相信任何革命消息。

1:30 PM Feb 19th
For the domestic security department, launching a revolution propaganda blitz would not only up their income, but they could just as easily turn and claim ‘crying wolf’ tactics, that repetition of fake revolution news would make reactionaries stop believing all information about any revolution.

https://twitter.com/zuola/status/38838373128863744
什么 茉莉花革命 啊,又是山寨版。抄袭国外模式,抄完google、facebook、youtube、twitter,现在又抄groupon、quora,连人家诺贝尔和平奖和茉莉花革命也要抄,哪个热闹抄哪个。什么时候抄全民选举啊。
1:52 PM Feb 19th

What ‘Jasmine revolution'? Just more shanzhai. People copying everything from overseas, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, now even Groupon, quora. People are even plagiarizing the Nobel Peace prize and the Jasmine Revolution. Whatever gets any attention gets copied. How long until we start plagiarizing nationwide elections?

https://twitter.com/FreeManchuria/status/38842672173027328
以后茉莉花革命这种网上动员可以常搞,上不上街不要紧,网上一放话,土共就着急,就紧张,就严阵以待,就气急败坏,过个把月搞一次,让土共惶惶不可终日。他要是时间长了习惯了放松了警惕,就干一票真格的!
2:09 PM Feb 19th

Online mobilizations like this Jasmine Revolution should be a regular thing, it doesn't matter if people take to the street or not. The second the call goes online, the CCP gets jumpy, then nervous, then goes into battle mode, then flustered. It should happen every month until the Commies can't calm back down. If it goes on long enough, they'll get used to it and drop their guard, and then it'll be time for the real thing!

https://twitter.com/messagerl/status/38882885540777984
中国能不能发生“茉莉花革命”不在于群众有没有这个思想基础,而是要有信仰基础。我们这个没有信仰的民族,没有“革命”,只有“起义”。“革命”是在有信仰的基础上对社会制度强烈的变革要求;”起义”是因吃不饱,穿不暖而对进行的反抗,谁打江山谁做主。
4:49 PM Feb 19th

Whether or not a “Jasmine Revolution” will take place in China has nothing to do with the ideological foundation of the public, but whether or not they fundamentally believe in what it stands for. We're a faithless nation, there will be no “revolution”, only “uprising”. Revolutions are when people with fundamental beliefs make strong demands for change in the social system. Revolutions, on the other hand, take place when people revolt because they can't feed themselves or keep themselves warm. You only get to call the shots once you seize political power.

https://twitter.com/wentommy/status/38885990433034240
一个把枪口对准民众的政府,自己先变成了鬼。
5:01 PM Feb 19th

Any government which points its guns at its own people is already a ghost.

https://twitter.com/higuain1984/status/38900730425389056
昨晚算计了一下如果真发生革命或经济崩溃时我的处境会如何,结论是对我一点好处都没有,我们家难以出国,会更惨。
6:00 PM Feb 19th

Last night I thought for a bit about where I would be if there were a revolution or if the economy were to collapse. My conclusion is that there isn't a single thing in it for me. For those of us who can't just up and leave the country, it'd be even worse.

https://twitter.com/zsjiangjun/status/38925497626796032
明天的”茉莉花之约”持续发酵,百度的众多贴吧都相继进入无敌状态。这反而让更多的人开始从研究贴吧为何开无敌进而开始研究“茉莉花之约”,虽然我也认为这次约会来得太过仓促,但看起来也未必是见坏事。
7:38 PM Feb 19th

Tomorrow's “Jasmine Revolution” keeps brewing; one by one, Baidu topic threads keep shutting it down. Though, in doing so, Baidu has led people to go from questioning why to wondering just what Jasmine is all about. Even though I think everything Jasmine so far hasn't been thought through very well, this perhaps isn't necessarily a bad thing.

https://twitter.com/wenyunchao/status/38925305091457024
茉莉花開不開不知道,倒是我觀察當局如何進行信息管制和封鎖的好機會,除了斷網,能使的手段也就今天這樣了吧。
7:38 PM Feb 19th

I have no idea where Jasmine will blossom, but I do find this a good opportunity to observe authorities’ response of implementing information lockdown measures. Barring shutting off the Internet, what we've seen today is about all they can do.

https://twitter.com/zsjiangjun/status/38925986640695296
所以我希望,对此次约会有想法的朋友,可以用一些比较温和的词语来加以描述,以便跃过障碍。比如说“茉莉花之约”、“相约茉莉花”,希望有才的朋友们能够组合出更多有创意的词汇。
7:40 PM Feb 19th

So I'm hoping, people with ideas about this thing can try describing using more moderate language, perhaps as a way to get around keyword blocks. For example, instead of ‘Jasmine Day’, they could try something like “a date with Jasmine”. I think people with more imagination can come up with more creative descriptions.

https://twitter.com/jason5ng32/status/38928538715422720
明天是否有中国版茉莉花革命没人知道,但看到今天政府的各种行动,它们就是热锅上的蚂蚁。
7:51 PM Feb 19th

Nobody knows if China's Jasmine Revolution is about to unfold tomorrow, but just looking at the government's various responses, they definitely are ants in a frying pan now.

https://twitter.com/wenyunchao/status/38934699170729984
突然就到身邊了,突然就含苞待放了,突然就零距離了。
8:15 PM Feb 19th

Suddenly, it arrives. Suddenly, it's about to bloom. Suddenly, it's all round us.

https://twitter.com/noooo0000/status/38941869522157568
有人在拼命论证茉莉花革命不成呢^_^我笑了。 Rt @lihlii2 @noooo0000 茉莉花革命成功已成定局。哈哈,连奴才《明报》都报道了。
8:43 PM Feb 19th

People are frantically trying to rationalize why a Jasmine Revolution won't happen. ^_^ Gotta laugh. RT @lihlii2 @noooo0000: The Jasmine Revolution is a sure thing, even flunky paper Ming Pao has reported on it.

https://twitter.com/lihlii2/status/38943478410907648
@noooo0000 一个明显的正面效果,是把“革命”这个词,和中共国的现实联系起来了。就算你是反革命,只要谈论革命问题,那就已经是进步了。哈哈
8:50 PM Feb 19th

@noooo0000 One obvious effect has been to make “revolution” a reality for the CCP. Even if you yourself are against the revolution, just discussing the question of revolutions is progress in itself. Haha.

https://twitter.com/leewua/status/38944535463735296
传说中的茉莉花革命,谁看了都像笑话,可是让官方如此恐惧,看来他们之前内心中就已经很恐惧了。RT @zokio: 茉莉溜土共的喜剧效果,堪比2000多年前的烽火戏诸侯,俺像褒姒一般地笑了。
8:54 PM Feb 19th

This rumored Jasmine Revolution, everyone's just treating it like a joke. But with the way it's made authorities so terrified, it appears they've been terrified for quite some time already. RT @zokio: Jasmine sure has had quite a comic effect on the Commies, even has me laughing like the concubine Baosi.

https://twitter.com/leewua/status/38945087572410368
据说警察都累得像小狗一样,都忙不开了。茉莉花革命的玩笑让那些非法占有权利的强盗们恐惧的不得了,他们知道他们手里的权利是根本不应该是他们的, 强盗最怕别人把自己手中的东西又抢走。RT @nuochan: 每个月搞一次茉莉花集结,一年之后警察和国宝就该成我们的人了
8:56 PM Feb 19th

From the sound of it, police must tired like dogs by now, they just can't keep up. This Jasmine Revolution joke has those illegitimate power bandits completely freaked out. They know the authority they hold doesn't belong to them, and the one thing bandits fear most is people snatching things out of their grasp. RT @nuochan: If there was a Jasmine assembly every month, a year from now the police and domestic security agents would be on our side.

https://twitter.com/wufake/status/38947230731739136
一朵虚拟的茉莉花,尽然惊动了党中央。
9:05 PM Feb 19th

A virtual jasmine flower, scared the crap out of the Party Central Committee.

https://twitter.com/Toxsch/status/38954427368873984
网上热传茉莉花革命,本来只是觉得大概又是一种行为艺术,不打算去掺和,熟料今天茉莉花就成了敏感词了。好吧,既然政府这么重视这次行动,不参加多浪费已经被花掉的维稳费用啊。明天一定去围观!
9:33 PM Feb 19th

The Jasmine Revolution is hot online, I kept thinking it was just another piece of performance art. Then today Jasmine became a banned sensitive keyword. Fine, if the government is taking this so seriously, to not take part now would be a major waste of Stability Office money. Tomorrow I'm definitely going to check it out!

https://twitter.com/wenyunchao/status/38961468103852032
目前來看,當局的應對手段,一是嚴密封鎖境內網站防止消息傳播,二是嚴密監控重點活躍人士。流傳中的集會地點現場現在有沒有加強戒備還沒有消息。
10:01 PM Feb 19th

From the look of it, authorities have responded in two ways: first, by heavily blocking any spread of the news on mainland websites; second, by heavily cracking down on activists. Still waiting to hear if barriers are being set up at sites of the planned locations being spread around.

https://twitter.com/majunspace/status/38964340308578304
茉莉花的价值在于她喊了一声,狼来了,,,,,
10:13 PM Feb 19th

The Jasmine F