Tuesday, March 8, 2011


...by China's censorship policies.

Although I am an ABC (American-born Chinese), I am taking Chinese classes. At home, I learned to speak the Shanghai dialect of Chinese, and passively picked up some ability to listen to basic conversations in Mandarin Chinese, but I never learned to speak it, or to read or write it. I started taking classes in high school when they were introduced during my sophomore year. In any event, for the current Chinese class I am taking, one of the recurring assignments is to write a blog entry on a weekly basis. Our professor chose blog.sina.com.cn as the blog host. Part of that assignment is to also read and comment on three of the other blog entries posted by classmates.

One of the entries my classmate posted asked for advice in finding off-campus housing. My first attempt to comment said something similar to:
[Translated: This year, the student government launched an off-campus housing comparison website, which should be helpful for you. Here is the link: http://www.jhusga.com/ochd/]

When I noticed that this comment had disappeared, I posted a new one:
[Translated: It seems that my earlier comment got censored (using a term that means harmonize, but is popularly used by bloggers to mean "censored by the government in the name of harmony"), in any case, you should check out http://www.jhusga.com/ochd/.]

That also disappeared. I e-mailed my professor and we both thought the first was removed because of the word "government", but I tested a bit more and it turns out it was because of the link! If I paste only the link, the comment gets deleted. If I change the comment to say "Google for JHU OCHD" instead of providing the direct link, the comment stays.

Apparently any link that goes to a "foreign" website is considered worthy of censorship, at least on Sina's blog platform.

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