Han Han: “From Now On, I’m a Vulgar Person”

The following is a translation of this post from blogger/writer/race car driver Han Han. Note that I have translated ”黄段子“ (literally, “yellow texts”) variously as “inappropriate texts”, “sexy texts”, and “pornographic texts” depending on what I think works best in context.


Today, all over the nation, the crackdown has started on pornographic/inappropriate text messages. In [a past post], I said I would send all sorts of pornographic texts to friends to find out where the line was, because it’s rare that [an illegal activity] in China results in such a [relatively] benevolent punishment, after going against the government’s wishes all that happens is your service is stopped (not like that rural person in Guizhou, where his punishment was having his life stopped). Since the only punishment is losing your [text-messaging] service, why not give it a try?

However, I am very regretful, because this behavior has harmed my relationship with many of my friends. In the past two days, many friends have directly questioned me: ‘why haven’t I received pornographic texts from you? Is it because you do not consider me a friend?’ No, it isn’t that. Perhaps you’re a naturally inappropriate person, and thus you just thought my inappropriate text was a common joke. Perhaps you’re not an inappropriate person, but my text was inappropriate enough that it was blocked by China Mobile before it got to you. And I didn’t send it to all my friends, because many of them often seem as though they’re relatively upright/moral. I didn’t realize so many of you were this immoral!

Aside from sending pornographic texts to males, beginning tomorrow, I will also be sending sexual harassment [text messages] to females. This is all in the name of making good on the government’s dereliction of duty. I strongly support the government policy, but they haven’t told us what the definition of “pornographic” and “inappropriate” are. The relevant government department should publish in the People’s Daily and read aloud on the TV news a list of the [banned] obscene and pornographic words. For exmaple, on the news, the female announcer could say that “the relevant department has initiated a stern crackdown on pornographic messages and the vulgar-ization of texting. Words to be banned include: Vagina,” then the male announcer says “penis”…that would be a truly responsible [way of handling it].

Actually, sexy texts and sexual harassment are completely different; sexual text messages play an important role in human [romantic] relationships, and they are an important way of making people feel close when they are apart from each other. Among the people around me, no one has ever exploded in rage upon getting an “inappropriate” text. There are only two situations in which reciving such a text would make someone uncomfortable: if it wasn’t fun enough, or if one [accidentally] forwarded it out [to others] after seeing it. Of course, since we’re often on the opposite side of popular opinion, it’s impossible to keep the government from investigating; ninety percent of people said they really hate pornographic/inappropriate texts. These texts are, [they say], very vexing, distracting them from their studies and keeping them from getting into graduate school and becoming government employees, for example.

The second kind of text is texts with some sexual implications, i.e. flirty text messages; flirty text messages play an important role in human [romantic] relationships, and they are an important way of making people feel close when they are apart from each other. SInce anyone can send this kind of text, I estimate there is a high rate of “returning to bed” [after these messages, i.e., they are effective]. Whether it’s lovers, sweethearts, or married couples, these kind of texts are indispensable and reasonable […] with this kind of one-on-one information [exchange], if the people involved don’t have an opinion, and aren’t getting involved [in reporting it as a bad thing or a crime], then what is the government doing getting involved?

Therefore, I think the government’s motive in this move is to block some messages from those advertising and seeking prostitutes. For example, I received [a text]: “Little sisters [girls] from all over, intimate service, white collar 500 RMB, students 600 RMB, models 800 RMB, foreign girls 1200 RMB, virgins 3000 RMB.” From this text we can learn two things. One, this sort of text often doesn’t contain any words that [would be] screened/blocked. The second is that white collar [girls] are truly pitiable; there is so much pressure on them at work and when they go out to sell or pretend to sell this identity they cannot even fetch a good price.

Another thing I question is, what kind of system will the government be using to inspect text messages, exactly? I never use “violating human rights” or “infringing in privacy”, [that would be appropriate if it were] having people burst through your door and telling you to pull out when you’re making love with your wife. But I am curious, if you are flirting with your girlfriend and the text is screened by a computer, and then is inspected by workers in the relevant department and found to be OK and sent out, this is [sort of] like two people are being abused [i.e., the original recipient and the worker who also read the dirty text message]. Additionally, this system will definitely block dirty text messages from all sorts of people, whether it’s a local politician, a noted public figure, a famous author, a worker or a peasant, etc. Perhaps these people’s texting service won’t ultimately be suspended, but seeing what messages they send every day would be very interesting, perhaps you [someone who works in the office that screens texts, presumably] would see them before they are blocked.

Twenty years ago, China used the term “hoodlum” [流氓]to label a group of people it wanted to eliminate. After sentencing and more sentencing, execution and more execution, we’ve come to today, and the vocabulary has changed [from “hoodlum”] to “vulgar”, they want to eliminate you because you’re vulgar. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the people who judge whether or not others are vulgar, where does their ‘high culture’ come from? For example, spending 100 RMB on a prostitute is vulgar, spending 100,000 RMB on an entertainer is high culture; if a person looks at a pornographic picture it’s vulgar, if a person looks at a classified government document it’s high culture; if a person buys a toy gun it’s vulgar, if a person uses a real gun to kill two people [probably a reference to this case] it’s high culture; if a person plays World of Warcraft it’s vulgar, if a person ‘plays’ with models it’s high culture. Of course, no one can say for sure [what’s vulgar and what isn’t], and as soon as you say for sure, you can’t do whatever you want. To prevent against a day when I might suddenly become a ‘vulgar person’, I will take the initiative, and become one now.

Selected Comments

China is always like this…

Han Han, I love you, first page [of the comments], oh yeah!

Pornographic/inappropriate texts influencing friendship is definitely wrong.

I support you, Han Han [many people said something to this effect

0 thoughts on “Han Han: “From Now On, I’m a Vulgar Person””

  1. You’re right to focus on Ai Weiwei because he is artistically talented, or else he wouldn’t have been consulted for the design of the Bird’s Nest (or is it something else?). And his behavior is typical of talented artists who dare to speak out, sometimes in a vulgar fashion. So it’s all good.

    But Han Han? Eww. Any mention of him drags down the quality of this blog. Just because some writers and artists are rebellious doesn’t mean every single one of them deserves attention because some of them truly suck at what they do. Please find some rebel with substance.


  2. @wooddoo. mentioning han han drags down the quality of this blog? really? i will say you just don’t understand him, or what he means to the youth in china: he is an positive influence and cool headed.

    and pretend as if you are somehow better than him? “find some rebel with substance.” do you have any? clearly not.

    even ai wei wei shows great respect to han han. oh, wait, i don’t think you understand ai either. i will say you don’t know china at all, so do fracking pretend.


  3. @ Nivek: It’s fine for you to disagree with wooddoo, but you need to express that in a respectful manner or your comments may be edited or blocked. See our comments policy.

    @ wooddoo: The reason I’m covering Han Han is more that he’s so widely known and read in China. I agree that, at least based on what I’ve read, he’s not on Ai Weiwei’s level, but Ai Weiwei isn’t getting thousands of replies saying “I love you” after every post he makes. That’s significant enough, I think, to warrant the occasional translation here.


  4. You know what I love about Ai Weiwei? His beard. No, but seriously, Han Han doesn’t really hold a candle to Ai with his cryptic sarcasm and “i’ll-only-criticize-the-obvious” criticism


  5. Oh nivek. Haha. Ohmigod it’s hilarious. I’ve never had anyone mistaking me for a foreigner (except I’m often mistaken for Japanese when I travel in Europe). Sorry I can’t stop laughing. Oh positive influence. Give it a rest you fangirls. Go defend chunge or guo jingming or something.

    To Custer: I understand his popularity. This is a country with over 300m netizens after all. You got all kinds of birds in a big forest. On chunge’s blog you’ll find hundreds of thousands of I-love-you’s. (I actually like chunge because she represents a new feminist force in this country).


  6. If they want to stop ‘vulgar’ activity, why not start with people growling up loogies and spitting them out all over the place. Or babies shitting on the sidewalk.

    Now I find those activities vulgar.

    Texting sexy talk to your sweetie is definitely not vulgar


  7. I’d say the “草泥马,组国“ contained a bit more subtle reasoning than most are used to, if I remember correctly. At least, if you look at it the way OTR depicted it (where is he, anyway?) and his comparison to the Sex Pistols and their criticism of the Queen.


  8. No one seems to mention it — or I missed it — but is the ‘screening’ used only for Chinese characters or English language as well?


  9. This man’s extreme individualistic tendencies and disregard for any form of collective interest except those that directly benefit him is sickening.

    Call me a conservative, feudal, hell, even fascist. I get the feeling a lot of people feel that way toward this man.


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