Friday, July 21, 2017

Only in China: 102 Rules of "Forbidden Words"

By Asia Pop Culture


Two days after Winnie the Pooh was banned on Chinese social media,  Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reiterated an extensive list of "forbidden words" (in Chinese) first released in July 2016.   Of course, this is just a "gentle reminder" to watch your month (and writing).

This current list contains 102 "forbidden word" articles in total after Xinhua recently added 57 more articles.  The "first edition" of list was released in November 2015 containing 45 articles.

Reportedly, rules relating to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau increased significantly in this latest Xinhua release.  According to a paragraph translation in English and simplified Chinese by Taiwan News,
In the fourth section of the list, titled "Forbidden words touching upon the national territory and sovereignty Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan," China prohibits words like "Taiwanese Government" (台湾政府) and "Republic of China" (中华民国) when describing Taiwan. Instead, it calls for all references to the Taiwan government after October 1, 1949, (the date Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong declared the People's Republic of China), as the "Taiwan authority" (台湾當局) and the "Taiwan side" (台湾方面).
Of course, it also strictly prohibits the use of the calendar, flag, emblem, or song of the Republic of China.  In addition,
In article 54, it states that the name "Formosa" (福摩萨) shall not be used because of its colonial connotations. If reference is absolutely necessary, it must be placed in quotes....
and a rare gesture of "consideration" by Beijing that
Taiwan is a province of China, but taking into account the psychological feelings of Taiwanese compatriots, generally do not use the term 'Taiwan Province' at this time, instead make more use of 'Taiwan Area' (台湾地区)          
I'm sure "Taiwan compatriots" are doing just fine without Beijing's crocodile tears.

While reading Xinhua's list, we noticed another forbidden word -- boss (老板). The rule bans the use of the term in reference to any government officials and corporate executives.  This is understandable since the foundation of communism is to eradicate all social and economic classes (so that all money and power go to the central government and officials leaving everybody else dirt poor and uneducated).

However, China's president Xi Jinping is also nicknames Xi Bigbig (习大大) in the news and even Chinese government documents.  If "boss" is a forbidden word, then the same logic applies, the term "Xi Bigbig' should also be banned in China too.      

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