Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, China is still curbing its citizens and Xi Jinping’s government has rolled out a “zero-COVID policy” which has left the citizens frustrated and protesting.
However, it hasn’t been easy for citizens to protest on social media due to the nation’s heavily censored internet. Hence, they have come up with a new way to protest and avoid being censored.
The New Language Of Protest
In China, any post against the Chinese Communist Party is removed by the censors and numerous posts were taken down after citizens were annoyed with the zero-COVID policy.
Most of the posts criticizing the Chinese government on social media couldn’t save themselves from being removed as it is heavily censored, however, posts in new languages have remained untouched as censors aren’t able to fully understand the language.
People from Guangzhou are putting up posts in the Cantonese language. It originated in Guangdong and is spoken by thousands of people in Southern China as per CNN. By using this language on social media, they have been able to express their opinions and frustration and have been successful in avoiding getting censored.
Why This Language?
Most of the people who are working on censoring the posts are proficient in the Mandarin language as it is the commonly adopted language. On the other hand, Cantonese is primarily spoken by people living in Hong Kong. People of Guangzhou, which is 170 km away from Hong Kong, have gotten a hang of the Cantonese language and are using it in their posts.
A media monitoring institute at the University of California told CNN, “Perhaps because Weibo’s content censorship system has difficulty recognizing the spelling of Cantonese characters, many posts in spicy, bold and straightforward language still survive. But if the same content is written in Mandarin, it is likely to be blocked or deleted.”
About China’s Zero-COVID Policy
According to China, their policy isn’t about having zero COVID cases, but about dynamically taking an action when COVID cases surge. It has two aspects- prevention and containment.
In the prevention aspect, there is early detection of cases through PCR tests and people who are suspected of acquiring COVID are asked to isolate at home or follow quarantine at government facilities.
Coming to the control aspect, in order to break transmission chains, people are asked to quarantine in government facilities and buildings, communities, or entire cities are locked if the situation worsens.
Even China’s borders are shut and those who arrive have to mandatorily quarantine for seven days. People are asked to keep a normal COVID profile and get tests done regularly. Hence, these strict lockdowns are affecting people’s everyday life and thus, they are protesting against them.
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This post is tagged under: COVID, COVID-19, COVID pandemic, COVID outbreak, COVID in China, COVID outbreak in China, lockdown, Chinese citizens, lockdown in China, Xi Jinping, protests in China, Cantonese language, social media, social media protests
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