11/5/13: Author talk at Google ■ 8/20/13: Interview on Brian Lehrer Show + introduction to book ■ 6/24/13: Article in Tea Leaf Nation/TheAtlantic.com about how the removal of keyword blocks is not a victory against censorship ■ 6/19/12: Listed in 2012 Danwei Model Worker Award round-up ■ 4/4/12: Asia Pacific Forum radio show with Rebecca MacKinnon and interview in The Next Web ■ 3/12/12: Article explaining my project in more detail: How China Gets the Internet to Censor Itself ■ See personal webpage for more media and writing ■ Words posted may no longer be blocked (they were blocked at the time of their posting or as noted in post). If you find any errors, contact me and I'd be happy to correct.
膏药旗 (gāoyàoqí) is a colloquial name for the Japanese flag, often used in a derogatory fashion.
Why it is blocked: Gāoyào is a Chinese medicinal patch, like a large band-aid that comes pre-packaged with an ointment used to treat aches and pains. Because the backside of many patches resembles the famous sun disc image of the Japanese flag, it is used pejoratively to refer to the Japanese flag, akin to calling the German flag Schwarz-Rot-Mostrich (“black-red-mustard”). Though on friendly terms today, Japan and China share a fraught past, with the Japanese invasions during the First Sino-Japanese War and WWII still not forgiven by most Chinese, leading to flashpoints like former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi’s annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and controversy in 2005 over Japan’s adoption of textbooks that reportedly glossed over the country’s WWII atrocities. Most recently, in September 2010, a Chinese fishing trawler collided with a Japanese Coast Guard boat in disputed waters. An international incident was touched off when Japan initially detained the crew but later released after facing intense Chinese diplomatic pressure and nationalism-fueled mass protest. In an indication of how complex China-Japan relations are, the Chinese government has even had to tamp down its own protesters in 2005 and 2010 in order to control anti-Japanese fervor—this after being accused of encouraging that very behavior earlier. However, to block gaoyaoyi, a seemingly minor slight relative to the other obscenities hurled toward Japan online, is curious considering no other similar anti-Japan words are blocked (one of the most common anti-Japanese insults, 日本鬼子, roughly translated as Japanese devils, has over 700,000 search results on Weibo).