The Danwei web site (Chinese media, advertising, and urban life) is carrying a rippingly funny blog piece by Alice Xin Liu about a recent Chinese government program that would have China Mobile monitor mobile telephone text transmissions for conversations of a sexual nature. Offenders’ (messaging) service would be cut off until they wrote a “self-criticism.”
Xin Lilu said bloggers in China are having a ball with the idea that the government is trying to censor dirty jokes, which apparently are a significant part of the culture of Chinese people (as if they were any different than the rest of us).
The Chinese language, however, is structured in such a way that machine filtering encounters even more complexity than it does in other languages.
“Similar to filtering for the Internet, dirty phrases are targeted, but with the make up of Chinese sentences, two completely unrelated characters could be strung together to make something a lot ruder,” she says.
She said that one student blogged that after he returned from dinner at a friend’s home, he sent the text message to his buddy: “you mom’s stewed post [pork?] is excellent.” The next day he couldn’t send text messages.
There is a Chinese euphemism “meat stick,” but you can read Xin Lilu’s original blog post for that discussion.
Dirty jokes are part of the fabric of life she concludes. “…sex is a kind of entertainment. Furthermore, it’s quite important as a form [of] entertainment.”
Thank you Alice.
Blog piece here.
New York Times story “China to Scan Text Messages to Spot ‘Unhealthy Content’” here.