Notes From a Censor: “I Wish This System Would Be Abandoned Soon”

At Global Voices, Oiwan Lam presents translated highlights from a recent 37-minute conversation between "Teacher Li Is Not Your Teacher," known on X/Twitter as @whyyoutouzhele, and "Blowfish Princess" (河豚公主, Hétún gōngzhǔ), a censorship worker at a major Chinese social media platform. Lam’s highlights cover censorship processes and criteria, Blowfish Princess’ advice to users on how to avoid censorship by exuding "positive energy," and disaffection among her colleagues:

[… W]e need to read information circulating among overseas dissidents, and we need to know what the homonyms and coded terms are. Among my colleagues, I don’t think they liked the job, and they disagreed with such kind of censorship practice.

Let me put it this way: I was trapped at home during the pandemic last year, but I was supporting the government’s zero-COVID policy and lockdown while I couldn’t even step out of my door… The work was evil, very dark… it’s very likely I will change my job soon, and give up this censorship work.

[…] I wish this censorship system would be abandoned soon. I hate this sector, it’s so painful working here. But I can’t shift to another sector right now, that’s why I keep on learning whenever I have free time so that I can leave this hell… I am not condemning anyone; I just hope that people can have a bit more open environment for free expression. The current system is way too much. [Source]

For more information on the workings of censorship in China, and a historical perspective on how censorship has evolved over the years, the following CDT posts may be of interest:


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