Netizen Voices: Citizens Beheaded

On May 21, Sina Weibo certified user @WangGongquan changed his profile picture to two white characters reading “citizen” on a blue background, quickly attracting a high volume of responses:

WangGuoquan: From today on, I’m changing my profile picture to the two characters “citizen.” These characters were written by Sun Yat-sen and are from a sample of his calligraphy, of which a friend made a rubbing.

王功权 : 从今天起,把头像换成"公民"二字了。这两个字是孙中山书写的,是朋友从孙中山手书样本上拓下来的

On the evening of May 31, a large group of Weibo users using this as their profile picture suddenly found the image had been removed. @WangGongquan and other netizens called this a “mass beheading.” @WangGuoquan’s post about the phone call he made to Sina Weibo management was also deleted:

WangGongquan: When I called you you said the “higher-ups” made you delete my citizen profile picture. You said “it seems there was something not in compliance.” I asked which higher-ups, what department, which person said it was not in compliance? You just hemmed and hawed and said you’ll respond when you understand the situation. You’ve all received a high level of education. What are the two characters “citizen” not in compliance with? They make you delete a profile picture and you delete it. You recklessly injure users like this and is there any limit to your behavior?

王 功权:你们电话回答我说是"上边"让你们把我公民二字头像删掉的,说"好像有什么不符",我问是哪个上边什么部门哪个人说不符的?你们便吱吱唔唔,说帮助 了解一下情况再答复。你们受过高等教育,公民二字头像不符合什么了?他们让你删除用户头像你就删,你这样乱伤用户还能有个头儿吗?

@LaoguSays commented on the incident:

LaoguSays: @WangGongquan: Ha! In the first group of “citizens” there were about 200 people on Sina Weibo whose profile pictures were illegally hacked and deleted by the government’s Internet Management Department (should we call them the Web Traitors?). It was a mass beheading, the martyring of heroes. The white characters “citizen” on a blue background has just been prohibited.

老顾说: @王功权:哈!第一批有"公民"头像的约200人,在新浪微博被政府网管部门人员(网奸?)非法盗号入博,将"公民"头像删除,被群体斩首,英勇就义。蓝底白字的"公民"头像,正被查禁。

WangGongquan: The national Internet Management Department at Sina has beheaded its “citizen” users!

王功权:国家网管部门在新浪对用户"公民"头像予以斩首!

Below are comments on the “beheading” collected by CDT. Read the original CDT Chinese post here. Translated by Deng Bolun.

Ailsa_su: There’s a profile picture on Sina Weibo that you can’t use. Use it once and you’re blocked. This profile picture is “citizen.” What makes a funny comparison is that you can use a profile picture that reads, “Get verified status and 1000 fans for only X yuan!” [This is a common spam image on Sina Weibo.] @WangGongquan

Ailsa_su:在新浪微博上有一个头像是不能用的,一用你就被封!这个头像就是"公民"。形成可笑对比的是你可以用下方"加v认证粉*元"的头像!@王功权


DebangLaosan: Oversensitivity to this point, they really don’t have a mote of confidence! What’s the meaning of a little profile picture?

德邦老三:神经过敏至此,真的是一点点底气也没有了!一个小小的头像,至于么?

Killbilldoller1: I’ve been reincarnated [i.e. account was suspended]. If you’re so afraid of us becoming citizens, are you not ashamed to call this a republic? Just be more direct and call it the Slave Empire of China.

Killbilldoller1: 我还直接被转世,这么怕我们成为公民为何还有脸叫公和国?直接叫中国奴隶王朝不更直接

Youyi: No wonder I suddenly saw so many headless users ooze out of Weibo.

幽壹:难怪看到微博上突然冒出那么多无头像的。

YYRushishuo: #MicroIdea All I want to know is, why have the white characters “citizen” against the blue background been deleted for absolutely no reason? If they can do virtual beheadings today, what about tomorrow?

Yy如是说:#WeiJianyi#我只是想知道,蓝底白字的“公民”头像,为何被无缘无故地删掉了?今天能做到虚拟砍头,明天呢?

ThisAge-1984: Citizen profile pictures are beheaded on Sina. It’s June 1, 2012.

这年代-1984:公民头像,被斩首于新浪。于2012、6、1.

FoolsPassage: Change you profile picture and support Mr. @WangGongquan. Give me back my citizen!

愚人渡:换头像支持@王功权 先生,还我公民!

WangruiV6: Sina, give me my head back!!!! The heart of the imposing Celestial Empire suddenly fears a common citizen’s profile picture. What’s sadder is it doesn’t examine itself, but only thinks of censoring, locking up, tearing down and blocking up. You go ahead and keep it up. I only want to give you a few words: water can both float a boat and capsize it. Take care of yourself. It isn’t too late to repent!

王钊V6:新浪还我头来!!!!堂堂天朝官府,竟然怕一个普通的公民头像,更可悲的是他们不反思自己,只想着删,封,拆,堵,你继续把,只想送你八个字:水能载舟亦能煮粥。好自为之,莫要悔之晚矣!

-Lishen-: Sina will even forcefully remove someone’s profile picture if says “citizen.” Whichever dog f*cker came up with this, if you are a person, then stand up. Don’t pull your head in like a turtle.

-李琛–:新浪连人家头像上显示一个公民字样的图片都被强行去掉,这是哪个狗日的意思,你要是个人你就站出来。不要在那里做个缩头乌龟。

HalfCupSettingSun: My profile picture was the two characters “citizen” written by Sun Yat-sen. Sina went and erased it. It’s actually really funny if you think about it. These two characters have become sensitive porcelain. Any hint of titillation and it’s forbidden.

半盏夕阳:我的头像用的是孙中山手书“公民”二字,新浪给我弄没了。 其实想想挺搞笑的 公民俩字都成敏感瓷了 意淫一下都不让

LaonafahaoDengguo: My profile picture has been river crabbed. My final right as a citizen has been taken away.

老衲法号登锅:头像被河蟹了,想做个公民的最后一点权力也被剥夺了

LiuHouboWeibo: @WangGongquan Because your profile picture said “citizen,” it was deleted. Please tell me, when did citizen become a sensitive word? Will “the people” also become a sensitive word? In the end, what will People’s Daily Online become? The Servants Daily Online?

刘俊博的微博:@王功权 因头像使用公民两个字,被强制删除头像。请问什么时候继 公民 成为敏感词之后,人民也成为敏感词?到时候人民网将改名成什么网?臣民网?

CitizenVoiceNotOne: Shit! I look away for a second and my citizen profile picture is nowhere to be seen! What policy has this violated? You assholes!

公民口不一:我靠!一转眼,我的公民头像就不见了啊!公民违反了神马政策?你大爷的!

Ierer: Today the name on my Sina Weibo account suddenly changed. It made me feel really strange. For a while I thought my account had been stolen, but this actually wasn’t the case. It was because I used the two characters “citizen” written by Mr. Yat-sen. I, a nobody, became the subject of Sina’s restrictions.

Ierer:今天新浪微博的头像,名字突然更改,让我感觉很是诡异,一度以为是号被偷了,其实不然,我因为用中山先生手书的“公民”二字做头像,我这个小人物也变成为了新浪的的等级限制对象了。

“Netizen Voices” is an original CDT series. If you would like to reuse this content, please follow the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 agreement.