“Drinking Tea” (喝茶) is now a common vocabulary in online political discourse. It refers to the widespread practices by DSD police or other authorities to harass, intimidate and conduct information-gathering on citizens for their political activities. Although each such “Tea” session always comes with the warning to keep the conversation to oneself, more and more netizens have been sharing their “Drinking Tea” experiences; as a result, we can see that the government effort to control online speech goes way beyond technological filtering and deleting of content and blocking of foreign websites.
Here is another example of a “Drinking Tea” experience, from a college student, shared within a private online community, translated by
This year (2009) I am 23 years old.
For the most part, prior to my 21st year, when I thought about issues it was always the thinking of a government education. Later, I went online and saw some unimaginable things. Then, after going through some personal experiences myself, such as my family being extorted by the police when they did business, I became very disillusioned with reality. I could not accept this completely inhuman government.
Later I started using my own QQ space, QQ screen name, and blog to disseminate some articles, usually by reposting them. Most of the articles were on bullogger, with Ran Yunfei and Ai Weiwei being the most prominent authors. I used my QQ screen name mostly to post some comments from micro-blogs.
Last year on June 4th was the first time that I directly felt the Internet controls. Many domestic websites were temporarily closed, and Twitter and some foreign websites were temporarily blacked out.
That day I was at school in class, and I visited Ai Weiwei’s independent blog. I found an article that he wrote, and I posted it over to the daily journal on my QQ space. I didn’t realize that I had hit upon a taboo word: 64 (i.e. June 4th). The article did not successfully post, and I thought that the taboo words on QQ had increased; I remembered that previously this word was not a problem. Then I added a comma in between the numbers, and was able to post the article.
Half an hour later, a woman who worked as an Internet monitor at the school entered the classroom. She whispered a few words to our teacher and then she came over to my machine to check the computer’s number and then left. Then, the department director came in and ordered me to go to his office. He started to interrogate me with questions, asking if I had entered the Party, if I had considered going abroad, etc. Then he ordered another female teacher to go buy me some food. At noon, I asked him when I would be able to leave, and he said that the school’s Party Secretary was in the Dean’s office waiting for me. Pretending to be naïve, I asked him what for. He also pretended to be native, and said that he did not know, but that they would explain when I arrived. I finished eating and we left. I felt disturbed, and inside I was a mess. The director and this other woman took me to the Dean’s office, and I sat in front of a table. They sat in the seats across from me (the office was large and luxurious), and then told me to wait. After a bit, the school’s Party Secretary came in. He was older, maybe 50 to 60 years old, a shrewd-looking person. He also had a companion who followed him in, carrying a notebook. Then, the old man started to talk.
I will briefly describe his points:
1) During a routine examination, Internet monitors had discovered that my QQ space contained “unharmonious” speech. They called to inform him, at the same time as the city’s Internet censors also called him.
2) He asked how I had obtained this article, since it had appeared on my space. I made something up, saying that I had seen the article on a Baidu bulletin board while surfing, and just posted it on my space, and that I hadn’t really read its content.
3) Then he started to talk about June 4th. He said that the Party and the nation had long since come to a conclusion about the affair, that it was an XXXX rebellion. He said that the Falun Gong from abroad is an anti-Party group, and took advantage of the Internet to corrupt young people inside the country. He said that my actions were extremely serious, harmful to social stability, etc. In the end, he wasted an hour jerking off like this. In order to not fuck up my ability to continue in my studies, I played naïve and stupid, and finally I went back and deleted the article off my QQ space.
Even though my classmates mostly knew about this event, nobody ignored me or held me at a distance because of it. They still felt they could associate with me.
In sum, don’t trust domestic Internet providers. Fuck Tencent (the Internet company).
当天我在学校上课，我进了艾未未的独立博客，发现他写的一篇文章，然后我把那篇文章转到了我的QQ空间日志里，没想到碰到了一个敏感词就是6 4 ，文章没有发表成功，后来我想，QQ空间敏感词升级了嘛，我记得以前这个词不是敏感词，然后我在两个字中间加了“、”号成功发表。
半小时后，学校一女网管进来，跟我们老师嘀咕了几句，然后那女网管走到我的机器前确认电脑号后离开，然后系主任就来了，叫我去他办公室。接下来他就开始盘 问我问题，问我有没有入党，有没有想出国等等，然后他叫另一个女的老师给我去买饭，中午时间，我问他什么时候可以离开，他说，校党委书记在教务处办公室等 我，我装傻问什么事情，他也装傻说他也不知道，到时候会说明的。吃完走人，我心情忐忑，心里七上八下，不知该如何应对。他和另一个女的带着我去那间办公 室，我坐在一个办公桌前，他们坐在我对面的座位上（办公室很大很豪华），然后叫我等着。一会，校党委书记来了，老头子，50~60岁，精明人，还有一个家 伙拿着本子跟进来，然后老头子就开始说话了。
3，然后就开始tm说64的事，说党和国家早已对此事定论，是一次XXXX的暴动，说国外F L G反X集团，利用互联网诱惑国内青少年等等，说我的行为十分严重，危害社会稳定等等总之瞎JB扯了1个多小时.我tm为了我的学业能够继续，装傻充愣，最后 回去把空间上的文章图片都删了。