Something Good: Defying Censorship

Tell me something good …

Chinese netizens are using creative ways to bypass censorship on COVID19.

People were getting angry with state censorship and attempts to hide the true impact of the virus in China.  It started when Ai Fen, an ER director of a hospital in Wuhan, gave an interview saying that authorities had missed an opportunity for early action against the disease.

The article was published on Tuesday  (March 10) on China’s social media platform WeChat. It was quickly deleted by local censors, but not before it stirred up online anger over the government’s handling of the outbreak.

The text and screenshots of the original article are still circulating on the web, but netizens in China are finding creative ways to make it more accessible to people in China and keep it going viral. 

The obvious choices of images and PDFs were common, but people were also posting it in Morse code, braille and even using emoji.”

– Marsha Borak. Abacus 

As the day progressed, versions of the article started appearing in more bizarre and esoteric forms.

Fictional languages, like Elvish from J.R. Tolkien stories.

Ancient Chinese, made up with 3,000 year old oracle bones script.

New languages, like Martian, a form of early internet slang.

But who can read these messages?  That’s not the point.

“The trend seems to no longer be just about sharing the content, but about the act of skirting censorship. “

– Marsha Borak. Abacus 


Here’s the link to the full article.

ABACUS: Fighting Censorship with Emoji

March 2020


  1. It IS so interesting that the rebellion is not to be quelled completely, laying low in other messages, but a potential.probelm for the Chinese government as it has grown into a phenomenon, that might lead to a libertarian movement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a problem already. Little acts of defiance can build momentum. What will be interesting to see is whether this precipitates any bigger change.


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