帝都 实行宵禁 (Imperial capital implements night curfew / dìdōu shíxíng xiāojìn): the imperial capital likely refers to Beijing while the night curfew in question perhaps was the that would supposedly be enforced during the 2008 Beijing Sumer Olympics. NBC News reported:
For weeks leading up to the Olympics, reports had surfaced that officials would crack down and curtail the rambunctious partying Beijing — and the rest of China — is known for. Signs warning against drugs and prostitution were posted all around Sanlitun, an area known for those vices… . Officials also said that bars and clubs would be shutting off the taps and music at 2 a.m., a curfew that was never honored before… . But all the concerns seemed to be much ado about nothing. All along Sanlitun bar street Tuesday night, people were sitting outside one of the dozens of bars, enjoying the (relatively) cool Beijing night as security volunteers and police stood nearby.
In a break from our usual series of highlighting words blocked from searching on Weibo, for the next two days I’ll be looking more deeply at the keywords on chat messenger app LINE’s “bad words” list. For more about this series, see this introductory post.
Apparently the censors at Weibo are still quite touchy about the recent “airpocalypse" in Beijing, when the U.S. embassy’s air quality monitor seemed to go off the deep end and reported record high levels of pollution in the city back in January. The above image was found in the latest roundup at FreeWeibo, which relies in part on data from Weiboscope, a University of Hong Kong tool that checks popular Weibo feeds to see what posts have gone missing (that is, deleted/censored). Weibo posts with these images have gone missing on a number of feeds (1, 2, 3). Apparently the combination of Mao + criticism of Beijing’s air quality are a no go.
Look at these two clever pictures! Haha. (看到两张神图！[哈哈])
Just as the great leader said: The people, only the people, are the driving force in the creation of world history. Netizens are truly gifted! So creative. (【正如伟大领袖所言：人民，只有人民，才是创造世界历史的动力！网民太有才了！太有创意了！】)
[Pitiful emoticon] [可怜]
Update 3/11: An anonymous tipster writes in to remind thatThe Economist ran a cover during the 2003 SARS crisis with Mao wearing a surgical mask. He notes that “the China chief was called in to the responsible party official, and told that ‘the highest levels’ of government were very displeased. Turns out it wasn’t because of the surgical mask, but because The Economist was using Mao to represent China.”
Also of note: The CCP pulled out all the stops to smear Chen, including branding him as “corrupt and decadent.” Newspapers intimated that he had a taste for “entertaining young female television presenters,” and it later came out that he cavorted about with a mistress who was 15 years old. A thinly-veiled roman à clef entitled The Wrath of Heaven about Chen was released then quickly banned in 1997.