There’s an ongoing effort by a group of anonymous people to embarrass the PRC by translating some of the stuff that regularly appears on Chinese social media. The Great Translation Movement is an attempt to reveal to the rest of the world to just how extreme and belligerent some of the voices within China have become.

And that’s important because the universe of Chinese social media is heavily curated by government minders. So if something is allowed to stay up that’s usually a clear indication the government approves of it. If on the other hand it gets censored, the clearly the PRC does not approve.

One of the things the PRC definitely does not approve is criticism of the communist party. Criticisms of the party or the leadership can earn you a visit from the police. Which is why what happened the night before last on Weibo is so surprising.

As mentioned, it’s dangerous to be openly critical of the government but it appears some people are so fed up with COVID lockdowns that they were willing to risk some satire.

The 996 work environment is a reference to the hours expected of some Chinese tech workers:

Known as “996,” the term is shorthand for a work schedule spanning from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days per week. Though popularized by the country’s soaring tech firms, often evoking images of hip urban startup employees with stock option plans hustling before being made millionaires by an IPO or funding round, “996” has evolved in how it is understood and applied by employers and employees, as well as how it is viewed by regulators.

I wrote about the woman seen chained to a wall here. Incredibly, that scene was intended to be an upbeat video about a man overcoming adversity.

People seemed surprised that the censors weren’t cracking down on the pointed satire as they usually would.

Apparently endless propaganda is really tiresome. So is US bashing every time something goes wrong in China.

But all good things must come to an end. In China the censors were back at it the next morning.

But people were enjoying saying what they really believed so the party moved to another hashtag.

I saw some people suggesting this may have been part of a deliberate strategy, i.e. give people a little space to vent online to let off some of the pressure that has been building as a result of the Shanghai lockdown. Maybe that’s the case or maybe the censors were short-staffed for the night. Either way it’s interesting to see that when left to themselves, Chinese citizens sound a lot less like belligerent goons and a lot more like real people.

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