Blogger/author/race car driver/faux bad-boy Han Han recently posted a very tongue-in-cheek essay predicting China’s future in reaction to the news about Google. It has since been deleted, probably by Sina’s editors, but the Chinese original can be found here, among other places, and Roland Soong of ESWN has already translated it. The whole thing is worth a read, but here’s a little taste that gives you an idea of Han Han’s message and tone:
2010: The government introduces a brand new Internet Great Wall. This Great Wall system is based upon the collective wisdom of innumerable of experts from all walks of life in China. They work together at a military base. The satellite photos of their work site was misinterpreted by people inside and outside of China as those of an aircraft carrier under construction.
2011 January: The government allocates 100 billion yuan to hire Internet commentators from its next round of economic stimulation package. The pay for Internet commentators rises from 50 cents per post to 1 yuan per post. The target for 2011 is to have 100 billion positive posts. The Fifty-cent Gang members at the various forums weep in gratitude because their long, arduous work over the years has finally allowed them to join the big team. From there on, the ratio of Internet commentators versus normal people is about 50:50 at the large Internet forums.
2011: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter announce that they are re-entering China and opening up registration. At the same time, the aforementioned websites announce from the United States that they are not developing any businesses in China. But their announcements are instantly censored, so that nobody in China knows.
2011: All those who register at the aforementioned websites are systematically tracked down by the Great Wall system. Their computers are re-installed. Afterwards, if the users want to visit a general-purpose website, they can only reach People.com.cn and Xinhua; if they want to visit a forum, they can only go to Strong Nation Forum and Tiexue Forum; if they want to visit a video site, they can only go to CCTV 1. Once the system is re-installed this way, there is no way to undo the settings.
2011: The price of computers goes up by 100%. Computer scalpers proliferate. When users buy new computers, they find that they can only access the aforementioned websites.
2011: Housing prices go up by 100%. At the real estate transaction websites, the housing unit must be identified as either “full Internet access” or “restricted Internet access.”
Han Han’s predictions run through 2020. He says that in 2019, China will shut its borders to the outside world, but that won’t matter much because in 2020 the world will end (the Mayans estimation of 2012, apparently, has a +/- of 10 years).
Although it was quickly harmonized, it has been making the rounds on the Chinese internet anyway. Michael Anti (blogger and journalist) tweeted:
This essay by Han Han proves that he has already become a dissident writer that the Chinese people can be proud of.
Ai Weiwei has responded with a couple tweets of his own about Han Han:
That one [author, i.e. Han Han] is OK, the rest of them can go die.
If you can’t tolerate me, fine, if you can’t tolerate this post-80s Han Han, you lack bearing and have made no progress.
Not sure why he dislikes Han Han so much. Is there some bad blood there I should know about? Note: It seems we may have misunderstood what Ai was talking about. Never mind. Thanks to commenter #1.
Yup, Ai Weiwei himself has confirmed via Twitter that I got his meaning completely backwards. My humblest apologies. After translating dozens of his blog posts, I have to say, it’s a bit disappointing that this was the way he learned about the site…
Also: Almost forgot! The China Media Project has covered the sexting ban we covered a few days ago. Their post is full of facts, and a full translation of a Chinese op-ed piece opposing the new texting rules; go check it out!