Saturday, July 15, 2023

Translated Selections From the "Program Think" Blog

 Last week the New York Times published an article titled "China Took Her Husband. She Was Left to Uncover His Secret Cause." An excerpt:

[S]he never imagined just how little she knew about her husband, Ruan Xiaohuan, until the Shanghai police stormed into the couple’s apartment and took him away.

The authorities accused Mr. Ruan of plotting to overthrow the Chinese government, by writing articles “smearing our country’s political system.” In February, a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison. Ms. Bei was left to try and piece together the life that he had kept from her.

What she learned, over the following months, was more than a personal secret. Ms. Bei now believes that Mr. Ruan was the writer behind one of the most mysterious blogs on the Chinese internet, which for 12 years had ridiculed the ruling Communist Party from within the country — a seemingly unthinkable feat under China’s hard-line leader, Xi Jinping.

The blog, Program Think, had a near-mythical status among its fiercely devoted following. The anonymously written posts mapped the hidden wealth of China’s leaders, one of the government’s most sensitive topics. They shared tips on covering digital tracks, mocking the authorities for failing to unmask the author. And they urged readers to think for themselves, in defiance of the  society around them.

I have translated the court judgment here:

Below, I've translated three posts from the Program Think blog. I chose the posts based on my personal interests.

Smearing Google – A Discussion of the Party-State’s Manipulation of Public Opinion

March 27, 2010

Original URL:


Article Contents

★ Preliminary Preparatory Work of the Central Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – [Cooking Up an Offense]

★ Those Taking Up the Role as the Main Attacker [The Regular Army]

★ Those Waving the Flag and Shouting [The Petty Warlords]

★ Those Specializing in Sabotage [The Fifth Column]

★ Summary and Conclusions

I just heard the gossip last Friday: Google was going to withdraw, and it came true on Monday night this week (it seems that the gossip is quite accurate, you can’t not accept it!). As a result, this week the Internet has been extremely lively, and there have been all kinds of hot takes about Google. I waited and watched for several days, but in the end I couldn't help but add my own two cents. Today's topic is: How did the Party-State manipulate public opinion regarding Google's withdrawal?

Preliminary Preparatory Work of the Central Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – [Cooking Up an Offense]

In fact, I mentioned the importance of the Central Propaganda Department to the Party-State in my previous post "The Contest between the Party and the Internet." In order to paint a more vivid image for everyone, I'm sharing the following image:

 It can be clearly seen from the image that the Central Propaganda Department is the nerve center of all media in mainland China. (By the way, the Central Propaganda Department not only controls the media, it also controls education, film and television, publishing, etc.)

Presumably when Google first released the statement (link outside the wall) in early January, the Central Propaganda Department began to develop an idea of what Google's offense might be. As the saying goes, " If names are not correct, one cannot speak smoothly and reasonably." Of course, our Party and State cannot act without also paying heed to the old saying that "War is not just without justification." Based on my observations, the charges against Google are roughly as follows:

◇ Impure Motives

The so-called impure (ignoble) motives mainly refers to Google’s motives for withdrawing from China, that they are not because of their so-called “not being evil” and “unwillingness to cooperate with the government’s censorship of sensitive content,” but are for other reasons.

Here, those who would smear Google mostly yanked on these two pigtails:

First, their market share is not large enough. Based on this reason, it is believed that Google’s exit was due to its poor performance in China (the market share is only 30%, far lower than that of Baidu). Of course, savvy IT people will see that this reasoning is clearly flimsy.

Second, they did not withdraw expeditiously. According to this, one should believe that the reason why Google "claimed withdrawal while staying put" was to hype itself, garner attention, and increase its popularity.

So it was with these minor charges they started off by confusing some "people who don't know the truth," especially those who don't run in IT circles. They got everyone to start to doubt Google's motives, and then to doubt Google's character.

◇ Spreading Pornography

With the previous charges as prologue, they immediately began to paint with a broader brush: spreading pornographic and obscene information. Didn't Google keep saying: "We don't want to cooperate with the government, we don't want to filter sensitive information"? Then, the mouthpieces of the Party-State intentionally distorted "sensitive information" into "pornographic information." The complaint is that Google is so bad that it is unwilling to cooperate with the government and to filter pornographic information. As a result, it has led to the proliferation of pornography on the Internet in China.

This charge is mainly used to ignite the anger of middle-aged and elderly comrades - because most of these people have children and grandchildren who are underage. Therefore, they are particularly disgusted with pornographic information circulating on the Internet.

With these charges, middle-aged and elderly people and female teenagers began to feel disgusted with Google.

◇ Political Conspiracy Theories

After exaggerating the first two charges, Google's ultimate charge was revealed at the end: It is a thug of the US government and an enemy of the Chinese people.

The reasoning process for this above-the-line crime is roughly as follows:

1. Google executives have close contacts with senior U.S. government officials.

2. Before Google decided to withdraw, it had exchanged greetings with the White House.

3. After Google announced its withdrawal, Hillary immediately delivered an "Internet Freedom" speech to support Google.

4. Recently, there have been some friction between China and the United States (such as the RMB exchange rate), and the United States wants to use Google to put pressure on China.

5. The U.S. government relies on Google for ideological output, cultural infiltration, and value infiltration.

Through this kind of argument, first of all, the patriotic enthusiasm of many angry youths could be mobilized, and then this enthusiasm could be transformed into hatred of Google.

Those Taking Up the Role as the Main Attacker [The Regular Army]

After determining the charges to level against Google, it was necessary to let the broad masses of the people know about these charges.

As the master of the State machinery, the Party controls many influential resources. In this wave of the public opinion offensive, they appeared as pioneers and instilled the above-mentioned charges against Google into the domestic grass-roots people.


Thanks to the popularity of television, CCTV has become the biggest mouthpiece of the Party-State. Last year's complaint against Google's "pornography gate" began with the program Focus Interview (hence, CCTV was jokingly called CCAV).

This time, because Google's announcement was released on Monday night, CCAV started at full steam the following night and began to criticize Google. According to reports from Internet users, several programs on CCTV set up special columns that night, pointing the finger at Google. In the past, I seldom watched TV. After I got the news on the Internet that day, I hurried to watch it. I was lucky enough to see the notorious Fang Binxing (see "here" and "here" for the introduction outside the wall) criticizing Google in a certain interview on CCAV 4.

Considering CCTV's ratings, those programs should be able to reach many ordinary people in China. There were many people who were fooled by it.

◇ Xinhua News Agency

Xinhua News Agency is equivalent to China's national news agency. Back in the day, Mao Bacon,3 the great ancestor of the Celestial Dynasty, set the tone for Xinhua News Agency: "Xinhua News Agency will encompass the globe so that the whole world can hear our voice."

Therefore, whenever a major sensitive event occurs at home or abroad, Xinhua News Agency will issue a "Xinhua News Agency Bulletin." This "draft" will become the standard reference for all domestic media reports. If any media dares to cross the threshold and offer a different voice, then its editor-in-chief and responsible editor will most likely be dismissed.

◇ Xinhuanet/People's Daily Online

These two websites are Internet battlefields directly controlled by the Party-State. Usually they will follow the pace of Xinhua News Agency and immediately follow with the release of corresponding commentary articles. These commentary articles will then be used as templates and forwarded verbatim by several major domestic websites. (I will talk about this later)

Those Waving the Flag and Shouting [The Petty Warlords]

The so-called petty warlords includes various large portal websites, major domestic forums, and various newspapers and magazines. Obviously their influence is not that of the minions of the Party and the State, but if they are properly deployed they can fool many Internet users.

So, after Google officially announced its withdrawal, the Central Propaganda Department issued a notice to these petty warlords, as shown in the image below.

Editor-in-Chief and Supervisors:

Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the Chinese market, which has had a significant impact, and the resulting discussion among Internet users has not been limited to commercial levels, so please strictly pay attention to the following content management requirements in the near future:

1. News Media

1. Only the texts of central key media (websites) can be used, and other texts sources are not used;

2. Reprints shall not modify the title;

3. For recommended news, refer to the central key news websites;

4. Do not publish relevant topics, do not publish discussion topics, and do not conduct relevant investigations;

5. Programs such as interviews with experts and scholars on this matter must be submitted for approval in advance, and it is strictly forbidden to publish such programs without authorization;

6. Manage commentary about the news.

2. Interactive Media Such as Forums and Blogs

1. Discussions, surveys, etc. on Google topics are not allowed;

2. Do not promote and do not pin related topics and comment articles to the top in interactive media;

3. All localities should please clean out all text, images, audio and video, etc. that attacks the Party, the country, government departments, and Internet-related policies regarding this matter;

4. All localities should please clean out text, images, audio and video, etc. which are against government policies offering support for Google, presenting flowers to Google, urging Google to remain, applauding Google, etc.

5. For topics related to Google, it is necessary to manage interactive information such as posts, comments, and messages;

6. Please assign special personnel to monitor Google-related information in the near future. If there is any mass event information, please report it in a timely manner.

Please monitor teams in strict accordance with the above monitoring directions in the near future, and communicate with all branches in a timely manner if any problems are found.

That "Notice of Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China" required that major media should abide by the following provisions in reporting Google's withdrawal:

1. Only use the central key media (website) texts, do not use other sources;

2. Reprints may not modify the title;

3. Refer to the central key news websites for recommended news.

To verify this, I searched Google and Baidu for the following titles respectively.

"China rejects 'political Google' and 'Google's politics'"

I could find some web pages as follows:

The first were the official websites of the Party and State

Xinhuanet: _ 13209582.htm.

People's Network:

Then there were three major portals




Then there were other websites

Phoenix Net:


There were many more, so I won't list them one by one.

It can be seen from the above pages that domestic websites were completely in line with the central authorities. The content of all the articles (especially the titles) was verbatim – much respect!

If you take a closer look at those URL addresses, you can see that almost all of these webpages were released on March 20 – even the timing is consistent – much respect!

Therefore, almost all of the big domestic websites have become mouthpieces of the Central Propaganda Department. The Propaganda Department of the Central Committee used them to create momentum and create an illusion for Internet users. They let everyone mistakenly think that Google is a mouse scurrying across the road, while everyone shouts at it and beats it.

Those Specializing in Sabotage [The Fifth Column]

Students who are good at history should understand the allusion to the fifth column (see "here" for the specific explanation). In fact, the Party-State also has a role similar to the "fifth column" in manipulating public opinion: that is, the GFW and the Fifty Cent Party. Why do I compare these two things to the fifth column? Because what they do is behind the scenes, they aren't touched by the light of day, and the Party-State has always been unwilling to admit the existence of these two things.

◇ The GFW

About the GFW itself, I have already said enough (see the "Climbing the Wall Literacy Tutorial"), so I won't repeat it here.

In this incident, there were still quite a few sober-minded Internet users in China who could see through the tricks of the Party-State. Some people also wrote articles to complain on behalf of Google. At this time, the GFW starts its work. It blocks some influential articles and even websites, so that ordinary people who don't know how to climb the wall cannot see them.

A typical example: The well-known blog "Kenengba" published a comment (see "here") in support of Google on March 23, and the entire website was blocked that day. (It seems that GFW is quite efficient)

◇ Fifty Cent Party

The Fifty Cent Party has been fighting on the front lines of various online forums for a long time, appearing in various guises and singing praises for the party. In this Google incident, the Fifty Centers mainly confuse the public by insulting Google. The purpose is to make people who don't know the truth think that Google is very unpopular in China.

When it comes to "sweet talk from the Fifty Cent Party," you can refer to my other blog posts:

"Logical Fallacies in the Literacy of Illiteracy-Taking Fifty Cent Remarks as a Negative Textbook"

"Comments on the Fifty Cent Fallacy - 'Every Country Has a Censorship System'"

Summary and Conclusions

After writing so much, I just hope that readers can understand that domestic public opinion is often manipulated by the Party. Everyone must have a clear understanding of this, and don't let the Party play tricks. If you want to see more authentic news, please climb over the wall to browse overseas websites. If you don't know much about overseas news websites, you can refer to the "Summary of Overseas News Websites" compiled by me.


Eradicating Illiteracy with Logical Fallacies - Taking Fifty Cent Remarks as Lessons in What Not to Do

March 8, 2011

Original URL:


Article Contents

★What is a logical fallacy?

★Introduction to common logical fallacies

★A practice question of "Fifty Cent Speech"

Last week, there were a large number of posts repeatedly calling for a Jasmine revolution. As a result, "Internet commentators" (commonly known as "Fifty Centers") were recruited again, leaving a large number of Fifty-Cent comments on this blog. I'll just take this opportunity to share with a large audience of Internet users some basic common sense about logical thinking - mainly about logical fallacies.

In fact, knowledge in this area has already been introduced in detail in the book "Learning to Ask Questions - A Guide to Critical Thinking" which I've recommended previously (you'll need to climb the great firewall to access it). However, considering that there are many Internet users today who don't have the time and patience to read a book, I'll therefore spill some more ink today to let everyone gain a bit of literacy.

What is a Logical Fallacy?

The "logical fallacy" referred to in this article can also be called a "fallacy" or "sophistry" (called "fallacy" in foreign languages). This mainly refers to the errors in reasoning that occur during the logical reasoning process. These kinds of errors in reasoning may be unintentional, or they may be deliberately introduced by a speaker to mislead others.

In today's world, due to the development of the Internet, we are being flooded with all kinds of information. In order to achieve the goal of persuading people, many statements on the Internet will use some sophistry. If you don't know how to identify "logical fallacies," you may be deceived, fooled, and brainwashed. Therefore, it is very important to understand the relevant knowledge!

Introduction to Common Logical Fallacies

There are many kinds of logical fallacies, and it is impossible to list them one by one due to space limitations. Today, let's list several common and main ones for everyone to see. If you are interested, I will take time to introduce some other logical fallacies.

◇Personal Attacks

Explanation: Personal attacks avoid the topic of discussion and instead question the identity, motivation, and status of the speaker. Among the logical fallacies, personal attacks are relatively low-level tricks, and are relatively easy to spot.


Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: You traitors and lackeys!

Analysis: [Calling one's dignity into question]

Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: What kind of compensation have you taken from the United States?

Analysis: [Calling one's motivation into question]

Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: You are just a programmer, what qualifies you to make irresponsible remarks about the Party?

Analysis: [Calling one's status into question]

◇Changing the Subject

Explanation: Sophists divert everyone's attention by changing the subject. Compared with "personal attacks," this trick is more clever.


Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: China does have problems of one kind or another, but in time, everything will be resolved.


Explanation: Using a small number of individual examples instead of statistics to prove your point. For example, an old smoker said: "I smoked all the year round, and I've still lived to such an old age, which proves that smoking is good for your health!"


Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: People around me hate this "Jasmine Rally," and it is unpopular throughout China.

Analysis: [The Fifty Center uses a few people around him to represent the people of the whole country]

Me: The CPC’s anti-rightist campaign was wrong.

Fifty Center: There are still a small number of rightists who have not been rehabilitated, so there is nothing wrong with the anti-rightist movement! Its just being expanded.

Analysis: [A total of 550,000 people were classified as Rightists back in the day. Up to now, there are only five big Rightists appointed by old Mao and 96 Rightists in various provinces who have not been rehabilitated (see "here" for the introduction of anti-Rightists). The "surface" of 550,000 people is covered by the "dots" of 101 people. This is a classic example of using connecting dots to cover a surface, and overgeneralizing from isolated incidents.

◇False Equivalence/Strawman Fallacy

Explanation: Suppose someone puts Viewpoint A; the sophist does not directly refute Viewpoint A, but secretly replaces Viewpoint A with Viewpoint B, and then vigorously refutes Viewpoint B, so that the onlookers agree that point B is wrong, and point A is also wrong. Often, what is chosen as Viewpoint B is a patently false proposition. Sophists make point B the target of attach by drawing an equivalancy. Therefore, this trick is also referred to as "strawman sophistry."


Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: Creating chaos in China is not good for the majority of Chinese people!

Analysis: [The concept of "participating in a rally" is secretly replaced with "creating chaos in China." In fact, the two concepts are not equivalent.]

◇Appeal to Fear

Explanation: This trick is mainly to create an atmosphere of fear, which in turn affects the judgment of the onlookers and makes the onlookers believe in themselves. For example, missionaries in the Middle Ages would say: "If you don't believe in God, you will go to hell." This is "appealing to fear."


Me: I suggest Internet users participate in the "Jasmine Gathering."

Fifty Center: Creating chaos in China is not good for the majority of Chinese people!

Analysis: [In addition to the aforementioned "false equivalence," this example is also a typical example of "appealing to fear." It uses the shitizens fear of turmoil to deny the other party's point of view. In addition, there are many examples of peaceful regime transitions (see "Reviewing the History of "Nonviolent Struggle""), and regime change does not necessarily mean large-scale turmoil.]

◇ Appeal to Tradition

Explanation: Use conventional ideas to support your own. However, the traditional view is not necessarily the correct view. The sophist who uses this trick intentionally skips the argument for the traditional view.


Me: The dictatorship of the Celestial Dynasty must end.

Fifty Center: China has been a dictatorship for 5,000 years.

Fifty Center: Five thousand years of history proves that the Chinese can only be controlled by power.

Analysis: [History is constantly improving, what worked before may not work now]

◇Appeal to Faith

Explanation: This fallacy is the substitution of faith for logic and evidence. So, arguing with such people is very difficult. Because they are illogical and lack a common basis for conversation.


Me: There are XX problems in the Party-State, and it is recommended to use XX methods to solve them.

Fifty Center: I just believe in the Party-State, don't try to fool me!

★A Set of "Fifty Cent Speech" Exercises

Given all the examples mentioned above, I don't know whether you have mastered the ability to see through sophistry when you read it. For this reason, I found some very classic and funny Wu Mao quotations on the Internet. Everyone can think about which kind of sophistry is used in each quotation.

================= A Gorgeous Dividing Line==================

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: The duck eggs at the North Korean aunt’s house next door are even more unpalatable, why don’t you talk about that?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Damn it, talking without practice is not constructive. If you have the ability, you can lay a delicious egg!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: The one who lays eggs on TV looks like a hardworking, brave, kind and upright chicken!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: It doesn’t matter if the eggs are not well laid, the important thing is that the eggs should look good.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: You grew up eating this egg, what right do you have to say that this egg is not tasty?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: What is your intention and purpose when you say that?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Don’t eat it if you find it unpalatable, go abroad and eat foreigners’ eggs.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: How much did the chicken next door pay you? How much money does the foreign master give you, are you talking nonsense here?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: No matter how unpalatable it is, it is an egg laid by our own chickens, so it cannot be said that it is unpalatable.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Even the eggs laid by your own chickens are not delicious, are you still Chinese?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Shit, you are a dead wheel, Taiwan netizen, traitor. Piss off! You're not welcome here!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: What business is it of yours? Talking gets you nothing. If you have spare time for this, you should be making money. What the point of all this? !

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Such a childish, sick mind to complain even about eggs are not tasty

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: The egg was stirred up by a handful of non-laying hens causing it to rot

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Chinese eggs are unpalatable, but American eggs are delicious? Traitor!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Chinese eggs can already beat American duck eggs. I am proud to be a Chinese!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: I will not dislike the eggs laid by the chickens of the motherland, no matter how unpalatable they are!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: How dare you say that the eggs in our chicken farm are unpalatable? Whose are you speaking on behalf of?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Biting the hand that feeds you - ungrateful, shameless!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: There are very few unpalatable eggs, most eggs are good, you just happened to eat a bad one!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This is a small number of criminals who are deceiving the masses!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This is an ulterior motive, what do you want to do?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This is groundless, I hope the media can report objectively.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: The way I see it, some people's eggs are not so good, our eggs are five times better!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Be patient! We are in the primary stage of raising chickens, and we must persevere for a hundred years!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: We built a chicken farm with our own characteristics, so that the hens can lay eggs with their own characteristics!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This unpalatable egg has nothing to do with the earthquake, of course people are going to die when there's an earthquake!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: So the eggs are not delicious. Don't people die in earthquake? So what if a few more people died?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Chinese chickens forever!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: In view of the unreasonable claims made by diners that the eggs are unpalatable, we went to Beijing twice to try to get them to change their minds.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: If people continue to petition, we will be forced to use reeducation through labor.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This is a rumor spread by some people on the Internet with ulterior motives.

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: You are one of the few who don't know the truth! How can eggs be unpalatable?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: If you think you're so hot, go and eat chicken!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: No egg is perfect, so you have no right to make irresponsible remarks on eggs!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This egg is a big improvement compared with the eggs of previous years, and its a huge improvement over the eggs before liberation!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: China is so big, wouldn’t it be more dangerous if we didn't implement a one-egg dictatorship?

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: In order to let you eat eggs today, countless martyrs exchanged their lives and blood for it!

Chairman Hu's Beloved Strong Country Forum

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Attention, this is a spy from the Duck Country! We will always love and adore you brother Hu!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This is a rumor, I can say responsibly that all our eggs are up to standard!

Tiexue Forum

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Is this just an egg? This is a chicken weapon! Chickens are playing a big game of chess with eggs!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Taiwanese eggs are delicious, go there! Get out of my sight!

Han Net

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: That's from a chicken who was fucked by a duck. Kill all the ducks and restore the history of the previous egg world!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: This is anti-China and anti-Han forces talking nonsense about eggs in our country.

Brick House Egg Lovers

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Correct orientation is a blessing on our chicken farm, and the wrong orientation is a disaster of our chicken farm!

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Although the taste is a bit off, it is beneficial to our body. If an American egg is introduced without authorization, our absorption system, stomach capacity, and even the entire endocrine system may collapse.

Sister Baidu

THE PUBLIC: This egg tastes terrible. EGG LOVER: Due to well-known reasons, we are very sorry!

THE PUBLIC: [The user's speech has been blocked by the administrator] EGG LOVER: You're such a blowhard. Look, now you don't even any eggs to eat, do you? !


Comments on the Fifty Cent Fallacy - "Every Country has Censorship"

December 7, 2012

Original URL:


Article Contents


★What is the fallacy of this argument?

★What are the characteristics of China's censorship?



Whenever someone criticizes the Chinese government's censorship or Internet censorship, some 50 Centers will jump out and say righteously: "Every country has Internet censorship." Some 50 Centers will add: "Europe and the United States still ban pornographic content, why can't China ban political content?"

A trick like this appeared again yesterday.

Mo Yan, who has become so popular recently, recently went to Northern Europe to receive the Nobel Prize. At a press conference yesterday (December 6), a Swedish reporter asked him how he viewed news censorship, Mo replied: "I have never praised the system of news censorship, but I think it exists in every country." (For related reports, please climb the wall to see "here")

Since even a well-known classmate like Mo made such an argument, I have to write a blog post today to refute it.

What are the Fallacies of this Argument?

There are at least two logical fallacies hidden in the use of "every country has speech censorship" to excuse the Chinese Ministry of Truth.

◇ Fallacy 1

Conduct cannot be justified just because it is widespread. For example, there are "criminal offenses" in every country, but "criminal offenses" are neither justified nor worth advocating.

◇ Fallacy 2

There are [substantive differences] between "censorship of speech in the Celestial Dynasty" and "censorship of speech in mature democracies," and these cannot be compared.

Next, let me spend a little more time talking about the characteristics of the Chinese government's speech censorship. After reading it, you will understand that "censorship by our Party-State" and "censorship by mature democracies" are not the same thing at all.

What are the Characteristics of China's Censorship?

Witha Legal Basis vs Withouta Legal Basis

In mature democratic countries, the censorship system has a clear legal basis, and there are truly laws to follow.

Example 1

For example, Germany banned the Nazis. In this case German [law] clearly stipulates what kind of speech is Nazi speech (such as "Heil Hitler"), what kind of symbol is a Nazi symbol (such as the "Iron Cross"), and what kind of conduct is Nazi conduct (such as the " Nazi salute").

Example 2

Many European and American countries allow adult pornography, but expressly prohibit child pornography. There are very detailed regulations in law establishing the boundary between "adult pornography" and "child pornography." There is a yardstick to measure what is legal and what is illegal. For example, in Australia, it is even stipulated that adult women with A cups are prohibited from taking pornographic photos-because their small breasts could cause the audience to mistake them for girls, and there is a concern about encouraging child pornography in disguise (related links are "here").

But in the Celestial Kingdom? There is simply [no] concrete legal basis to support censorship.

Example 1

All the major search engines, major microblog sites, and major forums in our Celestial Kingdom list the names of national leaders as sensitive words, don't they? Not only domestic websites, but also the GFW will filter and block the names of national leaders as sensitive words.

I would like to ask: Which law stipulates that the names of national leaders should be listed as sensitive words?

Example 2

The major portal websites, major blog sites, major microblog sites, and major forums of our Celestial Kingdom will use words related to the "June 4 Incident" (for example: "June 4", "64", "1989", " Tiananmen"...) as sensitive words.

I would like to ask: Which law prohibits talking about the Tiananmen Square Incident?

Open Law Enforcement vs Black Box Operations

As I said just now, in a mature democratic country, various censorship systems are supported by clear legal provisions. In these countries, government officials responsible for conducting censorship are aboveboard and openly enforce the law.

Let's take a look at our Celestial Kingdom again. All speech censorship is carried out in secret.

Example 1

Until now, our imperial court has not dared to admit the existence of the GFW

Example 2

The GFW has long used rogue techniques to interfere with various Google services such as Gmail. Every time Google protested, our court reasoned that it was a network failure.

Example 3

Every time there is a controversial incident on the Internet, the Ministry of Truth will issue instructions to major websites, asking them to delete relevant sensitive words. However, these instructions from the Ministry of Truth have never dared to be announced openly.

◇Following the Rules vs Following One's Inclinations

In a mature democratic country, government departments will be very cautious in censoring speech, and all censorship actions must be carried out within the scope permitted by law. If the government's law enforcement exceeds the scope stipulated by the law, the public can take the government department to court through formal channels.

In contrast, the Celestial Kingdom, because their review has no legal basis at all, and the whole process of the review is a black box operation. The inevitable result is that the Ministry of Truth, which is in charge of censorship, can do what it wants and do whatever it wants—block anyone it wants, block anyone it wants to block. Victims of censorship have no recourse.

Example 1

In March 2012, the only son of Ling Jihua, Director of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party, was killed in a car accident while riding in a Ferrari luxury car. Since Ling Jihua was the confidant of a minister for the former emperor "Stone Faced Hu," the Ministry of Truth certainly did not want this matter to cause negative impact. So the next day, all major blog sites, major microblog sites, and major forums frantically deleted discussions related to this matter, and even "Ferrari" became a sensitive word.

It can be seen from this incident that the Ministry of Truth's censorship and control of speech is completely arbitrary and only depends on the preferences of high-level leaders.

Do you know what's an advantage of censorship "based on a whim"? The arbitrary censorship keeps the media in constant fear and forces the media to [self-castrate] their speech. This is the famous [Goebbels Law] (this person is the Minister of Propaganda of the Nazis), and its original words are: "Even if the media is not blocked, the media must feel that they may be blocked at any time."

In the Celestial Kingdom, it is not only the media is always in fear, but also the people. Fearful of being prosecuted for their words, citizens also self-censor what they say.


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you shouldn't be fooled by such 50 Center remarks. In fact, the main purpose of my writing this article is to help those brainwashed Internet users see the true face of the Party-State. It's a pity that brainwashed Internet users often don't know how to climb the wall, so they can't see my blog :(

As for our classmate Mo Yan, everyone may wish to think about it, why would he speak such a fallacy?

Possibility 1 - He is pretending to be ignorant and taking the opportunity to beautify our court.

Possibility 2 - He was forced by the court's coercion, [dare not] to tell the truth.

Possibility 3 - He is too simple and naive and he [did not] see that China's censorship is fundamentally different from the censorship in European and American countries.

If it is the first case, then he is a Party prop and opportunist;

If it is the second case, then he is spineless and a coward;

If it is the third case, then his faculties are very problematic (to put it bluntly, something like brain damage).

Which possibility are you willing to believe in? Or, you can think of other possibilities ;-)

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...