We already knew that Chinese blogs were some of the main free speech forums in the country, but another form of electronic communication is getting recognized as an opportunity for uncensored commentary: text messaging. A recent NPR piece says texting is popular in China not only because it is relatively inexpensive, but also because it is out of the range of government censorship, at least for now. In a culture that is traditionally emotionally reserved, texting can also be an easier way to express intimate feelings without all the awkwardness of live personal interaction. Whereas courtship-via-text might be frowned upon in Europe or the U.S., it’s all part of the dating ritual here in China, from the earliest flirtations to the eventual heartbreak. Alvin Graylin, the CEO of mInfo (which owns Guanxi), a Shanghai-based phone accessory company, explains:
“Chinese are a little more indirect. They don’t like to always say what they really mean,” says Graylin. “It’s easier to sometimes communicate through a short message, a small communication of what you’re looking for, than to call somebody and have to explain everything.”
Even if “everything” is a romantic relationship!
When Wong Lei’s boyfriend broke up with her, he did it via text message.
In the message, Wong says he told her “he was not sure about a lot of things”; she understood that meant the end. While a text-message breakup might trouble most Americans, Wong is very accepting. “That boy’s a little shy,” she says. “This text message is maybe the best way for him to say something.”
Good for Wong… there’s no way we would be quite so forgiving.
Photo from tuija