Back in December, after I’d completed searching through half of my 700,000 word list, I decided to look more closely at what kind of words were being blocked. I used the 218 two- and three-character words that I’d uncovered at the time to be blocked (only 2 one-character word are blocked: 屄, cunt / bī; and ҉, a Cyrillic character that is associated with backwards or bi-directional writing) as a sample and then proceeded to tag them according to whatever categories I began to see developing. (The categories are at the end of this post and on the second page of the spreadsheet as well.) I’ve since finished my search and have about roughly 500 unique blocked words, which I hope to give the same treatment in the coming months.
As would be expected, most of these three-character and under keywords were names of people (most Chinese names are made up of a one character surname and a one or two character given name). 87 of the 219 were names of people, and the vast majority of those people, 54, were CCP members. Nine of them were involved with either corruption or other controversy in which they were usually dismissed. Fifteen of the people are dissidents of various sorts. Three are criminals who were neither dissidents nor CCP politicians and are probably listed because their crimes were so gruesome.
Hi all, I finished my search of 700,000 terms a couple weeks ago and I’ve started analyzing the data. Look for more regular posts in the coming weeks. In light of Twitter’s recent announcement that it may allow censorship as it intends to more aggressively expand overseas and Weibo’s much-debated push for real-name registration on the site (and the backlash), I’ll be writing up a short article on my results soon. Of interest is that a number of the bans on Weibo (like tank and Muslim, which were blocked at the time I searched them in November) no longer seem to be in effect. So please note that blocked words posted before February 2012 may no longer be blocked (they were blocked as of the time of their posting).