Ten Awkward Questions to Ask Crazy Crab, Cartoonist who Challenges China’s Great Firewall
The political cartoonist known as “Crazy Crab,” who published a series of cartoons known as Hexie Farm, has gotten a lot of attention recently for his sharp, satirical drawings which take on censorship, propaganda, and dictatorships around the world. “Hexie” literally means “river crab” but is also a homonym for “harmony,” a term employed by government propagandists to justify a crackdown on dissent.
The cartoonist, who does not publicly reveal his real name, also launched the Dark Glasses: Portrait campaign to show support for activist Chen Guangcheng, who has been held under a particularly stringent form of house arrest in Shandong with his family. “Hexie Farm” appears in a recent list of terms that have been banned on Sina Weibo search, but the cartoons are still widely dispersed online. Some of his cartoons have been translated and posted on CDT, including this one mocking Fang Binxing, the Father of the Great Firewall. More of his cartoons can be found here.
The Italian magazine Post Internazionale interviewed Hexie Farm:
Hexie Farm is inspired by the allegorical novellas by George Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm, but also inspired by the creator of The Far Side, Gary Larson, and by the Argentinian cartoonist, Quino. How can Hexie Farm, in a “great, glorious and correct era of harmony”, awaken the political and critique consciousness and change the course of events?
There are lots of political cartoons published in Chinese media every day. Unfortunately most of them are boring and meaningless. These cartoons never criticize the Party or the government, they do not question the system, and they do not make people think. This situation reflects the existence and consequence of censorship. You can criticize a local officer for his taking bribery, but you cannot criticize the government when it abridges people’s rights. This is one of the reasons that I started drawing Hexie Farm. I want to show the picture to the world by depicting the one Party dictatorship and censorship. I want to combine the history and reality together in my drawings, and figure out how ridiculous the logic behind the Party’s politics is. And I also hope my audience will get a new perspective and start to think differently when they read my cartoons. The cartoons turn bloody stories into hilarious black humor and sometimes even make readers laugh loudly. I am in fact sometimes confused about this effect. But I believe laughter is our strength, the Party has tanks, and we have laughter.