China And media Censorship
Those willing to report news have always taken risks not because they are adventure seekers or egomaniacs its because they believe the public has the right to know. History is littered with governments and regimes that have sought to silence the media.
Even with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact media repression continues unabated. Asia has a large number of governments which repress the ability of the media to report on a wide range of issues. China goes to great lengths to subdue the press. Here are few examples from a report complied by the International Federation of Journalists (pdf file) for 2009.
On June 27, media was told that no journalists
were to go to the factory. Any articles on the issue
should not be placed in a prominent position.
On June 28, only Xinhua and the Southern
Metropolis website were permitted to publish reports
on the factory incident. No other media could republish
On June 29, only the Southern Metropolis
website and Shaoguanes local media reported on the
alleged cause of the factory fight, based on reports of a
police investigation. No re-publication was permitted.
Reporting Foreign News
On June 19, protests in Iran against the election
outcome prompted an order that all media report the
issue in a low-key way without commentary. Media
were encouraged to limit the number of articles on the
In July, only Xinhua reports could be run in
relation to the detention of four employees of Australian
mining company Rio Tinto.
On August 20, any reports about Russia limiting
Chinafs access to Russian markets had to be submitted
But as China's government continues its widespread censorship its citizens find ways to mock these attempts.
The Yake lizard is the latest creation of China’s nimble and imaginative netizens as a way to poke fun at the authorities and their bid to corral online debate and to block access to sites the censors deem inappropriate.
After a Uighur performer performed a song called “The Party’s Policies are yakexi” – using the Uighur word for “good”,
As with any such opportunity in which satire is screaming to be created; that's just what happened.
Chinese is a language rich in homonyms, and the Uighur word became Yake lizard. The word “xi” in Chinese can mean lizard.
China’s most popular blogger, the youthful writer and racing driver Han Han, then set up a competition, offering 5,000 yuan (£500) to the creator of the best new lyrics for the song – although the chorus line was not to be changed.
The first verse of the official song goes: “I, Maimaiti, am full of joy, With my donkey I am going to town, Brand new bank notes on my shoulder, Filled to bursting with renminbi. What is yakexi, what is yakexi? The Party’s policies are yakexi.