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Things You Can't Do In China

(Including now, if even you could before, "read this blog.")


  1. Cross the The Great Firewall: Their infamous, systematic internet censorship, usually wrapped in moral rhetoric. So, no more living on Facebook, Twitter, myspace, youtube or blogspot...the Iron Curtain 2.0. source, source, source, them admitting it.

It's a real sophisticated project, though, by no means just a process of strong-arming search engines, controlling the router infrastructure, and forcing through crap filter software. (Which is so effective that official Communist Party propaganda sometimes gets blocked.)

Scopes text messages sent on China Mobile, too...

"The joke was censored on China Mobile most likely because it mentions Hu Jintao, which they have probably entered as a keyword for blocking. That implies an assumption by China Mobile that any Chinese person who mentions their president on mobile SMS is likely to have bad things to say..."

One smart conspiracy theory I've heard suggests that the site-blocking and social-engineering talk is an adjunct to a protectionist policy - an attempt to shut off foreign competition from the Chinese software industry. Doesn't take much of a leap to imagine that Beijing might want to control economic development. As with any country, they do like their national-champion few.

There are of course 'virtual-private-network' backdoors to all this, but I really don't feel like being that subversive just so's I can see your pokes.

Pun: phonetically, "Fei-si-bu-ke", semantically, "doomed to die"

  1. Worship in public: Falun Gong must be super fulfilling, since it's worth getting defamed and tortured over. Even feng shui too, til recently.

  2. Go to a shitty casino at the end of your night cos there's nowhere else open: Really: all formal gambling is prohibited. Source.

  3. Porn: "Protecting young Chinese from unhealthy content." The word that the Buro uses for it translates closest to "lewd", which is cute, I guess. Source, source

  4. Talk secession: Ah. None of my late-night pretentious/inconsequential political spraff, then. Source.

  5. Work out where you are: GPS mapping systems are banned for foreigners, to prevent "illegal surveying". Source.

  6. Watch foreign cartoons during primetime: "...Communist leaders are said to be frustrated that so many cartoons are foreign-made, especially after efforts to build up Chinese animation studios." Source.

  7. Watch 2D. What techy folk those officials are. Source. Better source.

  8. Have an orgy: The offence of "assembled pruriency" lands you up to 5 years inside. “China is not the United States; Chinese people have moral restrictions.” Ho ho. Source.

  9. Take your riot/orgy footage out with you, dur: Customs retain the right to seize any "Press items: rolls of film, photographs, phonograph disc, tape, video tape, laser video disc, laser audio disc, any computer storage medium and other items that are harmful to Chinese politics, economy, culture, and social morals."

  10. Play WoW, Half Life, Quake, C&C, The Sims 2..: "Minors should not be allowed to play online games that have PK content, that allow players to increase the power of their own online game characters by killing other players," Liu Shifa, head of the MOC's Internet Culture Division..." Source, Source

    The lists of films and books banned aren't anywhere near as long as I'd thought.

  11. Live as a gold farmer (virtual currency for real shit): Source

  12. Go to Tibet, dur.

  13. Go see Dylan. Source.

  14. Treasure hunting: There goes my Indiana Jones plan. Source.

  15. Call people a 洋鬼子 (white devil) or a 黑鬼子 (black devil): That is, commit hate speech.

    This list is obviously bigstyle Eurocentric, and, worse, tourist-centric - the title has an implicit "...that you can do over here" - but there's really not the room to talk about everything which you also can't do in the UK, like hate speech, or 'buy a gun'. I also can't dissect their human rights situation, which isn't so much a matter of "things one can't do" as "things the government can do to you". The suffrage rate is effectively 0%, lest we forget, with maybe the 5.6% of the population who are CCP members possessing a semblance of power. Report. Plea.

    I sound hectoring; well, it'll stand for now.

  16. Feed the ducks: Form of Littering; 600 rmb (£59) fine.


  • Don't accept compliments too easily: Get modest, or feign humility hard. Don't self-congratulate.

面子 - Mianzi, "face"

  • Never make someone lose face: Public embarrassment and failure is a massive deal. Pointing out someone's mistake in front of others or shouting at someone.

  • Get angry in public: premium placed on group harmony; cope privately, ffs.

  • Eye contact with strangers: Source.

  • Don't address people by their "first name" first: last name always comes first. (family over individual).

"礼貌要求互惠" (Courtesy demands reciprocity)

  • Don't drink alcohol without first offering a toast
  • Don't let someone else pay the bill without fighting for it
  • Don't come giftless:
  • Never accept food, drinks, or gifts without first refusing a few times
  • (Mianxi prevents doing anything that makes one appear greedy or eager)

  • Don't take the first "No, thank you" literally: Food or drinks automatically refused several times — even if they really feel hungry or thirsty.

  • Closet: Being gay seems to be at least tolerated. (Well, it's officially decriminalised and as of 2001! isn't a diagnosable mental illness anymore.) A (small) study had 40% of polled Chinese people calling it "completely wrong". Actually, this compares to 36% polled in 2001 in the UK who called it "always or mostly wrong" and 42% of Americans polled who would recriminalize it, so what the hell; the whole world's sick. Though Brokeback Mountain got banned...
  • Mock people walking their pet birds.


关系 - guanxi - "Connections" - fundamental social glue; just relationships between people, but also implies nepotism and so.

面子 - mianzi - "Face" - A great deal of adult public activity seems related to folk saving face. And you're not excused from it just cos you have a less sensitive sense of embarassment.

1) Diu-mian-zi: when one's errors or wrongs are exposed to people.
2) Gei-mian-zi: giving of face to others (showing respect).
3) Liu-mian-zi: credit for avoiding mistakes.
4) Jiang-mian-zi: when face gained via others, i.e. someone complementing you to an associate.

Li - "sacrifice". Craft of politeness.

客气 - keqi - "guest-behavior". Self-enforced cordiality and modesty.

There's really nothing particularly unfamiliar about any of the above, but consider how formally naming and arranging hierarchically something might point to its importance; Hyacinth Bucket with bells on?

"The laws implemented by the Chinese government may or may not have motives but the point is, people still need to follow the law. If you cannot handle the law then don't bother going to their country to prevent any untoward experience."

- :O (behold, the banality of evil)

"Unjust laws exist. Shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? ...But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?"

- Thoreau