China briefly bans letter N from the Internet

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Amid fallout from the decision to allow Xi Xinping extend his power grip and be president for life, Chinese censors now also crack down on letters, phrases and George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

In a blog post, Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania China expert, said censors had taken “quick, drastic action” after “the internet was flooded with complaints”.

According to a list compiled by the China Digital Times, search terms blocked on Weibo, China’s Twitter, included:

– ‘Ten thousand years’ (万岁), which is China’s way of saying: ‘Long live!’ or ‘Viva!’

– ‘Disagree’ (不同意)

– ‘Xi Zedong’ (习泽东) – a hybrid of the names of Xi and Chairman Mao Zedong

– ‘Shameless’ (不要脸)

– ‘Lifelong’ (终身)

-‘Personality cult’ (个人崇拜)

-‘Emigrate (移民)

– ‘Immortality’ (长生不老)

The name Yuan Shikai, a Qing dynasty warlord who unsuccessfully tried to restore monarch to China, was also banned as were the titles of two George Orwell books, 1984 and Animal Farm.

Less clear is why censors took issue with the letter ‘N’.

Mair, speculates it was “probably out of fear on the part of the government that ‘N’ = ‘n terms in office’, where possibly n > 2”.

On Wednesday, Beijing accused the west of reacting “hysterically” to the scrapping of presidential term limits.

“No sooner had [the party] made public its proposal … than the Western media began bad-mouthing China in their usual and various ways,” the party-run Global Times tabloid said in an editorial.

Source: The Guardian

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