«Memoirs of a Geisha is a case in point.[...] Officials feared that the film - in which the Chinese actress, Zhang Ziyi, plays the part of a Japanese geisha whose virginity is put up for sale in the 1930s - would become a focus of public anger towards Japan. [...] "She is the most shameless Chinese woman in the world. I wonder whether she ever thought about the pain brought by the Sino-Japanese war," wrote one of the least offensive web critics. [...]
At a popular DVD shop in north-west Beijing, staff say they sell 60 copies of Memoirs [of a Geisha] every day, making it one of their top two moneymakers (along with Brokeback Mountain, which has also yet to win approval for release in China).
"I guess about 70% of the stuff we have is pirated," said a sales assistant. "The police come from time to time and we close until they've gone. But they come back in private and ask us to give them free DVDs. Then we open again."
"Censorship isn't all bad because it stimulates demand and promotes the development of the piracy business," said one radical blogger, Muzimei, whose name was once among the list of banned words on the internet, despite being used commercially to sell everything from underwear to cockroach killers.[...]
"It is becoming more difficult to block and monitor web traffic so we need to switch to guidance," said an official responsible for internet surveillance. "Strict management didn't work. It is like trying to control a flood. Guiding is more effective than blocking.[...] If you want to control [China], mere politics is not enough. You must control minds. You need to win the battle for ideas."»
I bet that in five years, China will have the same uncensored and completely moronic mass-media as anywhere else in Eurasia. Censorship is a hassle. Lying, however, is a job skill!
I look forward to the day when I can point my satellite-kerjigger and receive 24-hour fair and balanced coverage of how Our Eternal Enemies The Taiwanese And Japanese are indeed ceaselessly conspiring against Us Chinese Patriots Of The Homeland Of Unanimous Popular Pride And Ten Thousand Grand Beneficences. And maybe one of the insightful Beijing news mags can cook up a Newsweek-style cover story with a Tibetan kid on the front, with the caption "Why do they hate us?".