Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Rules on What to Say

Apparently now people can write to China's top leaders on an online message board telling them what they think. Well, maybe not what they REALLY think.

That's because there are 26 rules about what you can write in your message. I'll get to that in a minute.

This service was launched September 8 courtesy of the People's Daily, and five days later there were more than 23,000 comments addressed to President Hu Jintao regarding exorbitant housing prices, corruption, environmental pollution, and civil rights abuses.

Here now are the 26 rules of leaving messages on the Direct Line to Zhongnanhai (直中南海) Message Board as translated by Human Rights in China:

It is forbidden to post the following content on this message board:
  1. That which counters the fundamental principles determined by the Constitution;
  2. That which endangers state security, discloses state secrets, subverts state power or undermines the unity of the state;
  3. That which harms the state’s honor or interests;
  4. That which incites ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination or undermines ethnic solidarity;
  5. That which incites illegal gatherings, association, demonstrations, or gathering a crowd to disturb social order;
  6. That which undermines state policy on religion or advocates heretical organizations or feudal superstitions;
  7. That which spreads rumors, disturbs social order or undermines social stability;
  8. That which spreads obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, homicide, terrorism or instigates crime;
  9. That which insults or slanders others, or encroaches on others’ legal rights and interests;
  10. That which organizes or carries out illegal non-government organization activities;
  11. Discriminatory remarks or news including those based on race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, region, handicaps, and economic status;
  12. Other content forbidden by the law or administrative regulations;
  13. News which has not yet been publicly reported or verified (to publicize events you have personally experienced, please note them down clearly and inform the message board administrator of your contact information);
  14. Documents or messages that may jeopardize a third party’s rights or interests, such as (including but not limited to): virus code, hacking procedures, and software cracks;
  15. Copying or plagiarizing others’ works; when reprinting or citing, please clearly note the source; posting articles that the original writer has forbidden to reprint;
  16. Information lacking in rationality or good faith, unreasonable quibbling, malicious comment spamming to waste board space;
  17. Messages with obviously poor writing, excessive misspellings, or obscure and vacuous content;
  18. Articles with content or forms that affect the normal browsing of other users;
  19. Repetitive messages, test messages, excessively personal chats, and comment spamming;
  20. Information that compromises others’ privacy, deliberately mimics someone’s registered name, or misrepresents itself to be an announcement from the forum administrator;
  21. Other content that undermines the order of the message board or encroaches on the interests of the message board or the online community;
  22. Please do not leave messages that are repetitive or excessive in number, or post information or remarks unrelated to the message board’s main topic;
  23. Please do not post any form of advertisement without obtaining the website’s permission;
  24. Please do not add special symbols to message titles or content;
  25. Please do not add groups of symbols such as the following to messages: ASIIC [the American Standard Code for Information Interchange], text in other character encodings, null Chinese characters, double-width Chinese characters, and keyboard-enabled symbols (symbols produced by pressing the Shift key);
  26. Malicious behavior such as continuously reproducing multiple messages from the same account during a short time period or causing a broad swath of the message board to be assaulted with messages from the same account is forbidden.
The first half of the regulations basically rule out writing anything on there unless it's positive.

After all, don't politicians, communist or not, want to hear good things about themselves and how well they're governing the country?

However, I have to say I like rule #17 -- no bad writing or empty messages!

And it's understandable senior leaders aren't interested in getting spam (rule #19). They must be tired of getting those ones on penis enlargements... 

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