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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2018

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Puns no longer allowed in Chinese media

Diesel Demon/ Flickr

Diesel Demon/ Flickr


If you thought the Chinese government could not constrict the rights of its people anymore than it already has in the 21st century, you are wrong.

As of Sunday, Nov. 29, China banned the use of puns, as well as any other form of wordplay in its media outlets.

David Moser, academic director for Chinese studies at Beijing Capital Normal University said, “I wonder if this is not a preemptive move, an excuse to crack down for supposed ‘linguistic purity reasons’ on the cute language people use to crack jokes about the leadership or policies. It sounds too convenient.”

He could not be more correct.

There is deep-rooted paranoia in the Chinese government, as it stands to usurp any form of resistance or transparency. As there have been mass riots lately, it is not surprising that this motion to deny media outlets a sense of humor was enacted.

Satire and sarcasm allow simple comments numerous interpretations. It is in this way that societies that live under harsh restrictions are able to breathe. Political life is completely out of the hands of millions of Chinese citizens, and, as of late, they have demanded that change.

The ban of certain usage of language is just another slap in the face.

“The casual alteration of idioms risks nothing less than ‘cultural and linguistic chaos,’” argues the Chinese print and broadcast watchdog.

In addition, China banned hundreds of terms and phrases. Among the most notable is “May 35,” which arose as a trick to get around censorship of “June 4,” which is the day of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.

News sources such as Business Insider have now compared the Chinese Government to that in “1984,” a popular novel written by George Orwell that encapsulates a pure dystopian society.

China’s intrusive government is indeed watching, and it is just a matter of time until the whole system crashes.

Now, more than ever, it is easier for grassroots organizations to gain ground and get their message heard, and I think that the “Umbrella Revolution,” which started during the protests in Beijing earlier this year, has shown that.

It is imperative that assemblies such as the Beijing riots continue; their demands have been warranted for years and it is about time that the Chinese government either stamp out the fire or realize that this new age of protestors have a force to be reckoned with.