Tea Leaf Nation has directed our attention to the Chinese government’s latest attempt to rid the internet of content deemed impure: an online campaign to “sweep out yellow, strike at rumors“. Netizens seem to be having fun with it.
In Chinese, “yellow” can serve as a euphemism for “prostitution”, and rumors are essentially anything deemed “inaccurate” by the Communist Party.
The campaign’s phrase to “sweep out yellow, strike at rumors” became a hashtag on Weibo, and while authorities didn’t generate the trend, they appear to be encouraging it by inviting netizens to spread the word through “joint monitoring and reporting”. Some, naturally, have decided to get cheeky with the campaign by dangling content just-barely-pornographic in front on censors searching the hashtag.
According to TLN:
One user in Dongguan […] used the hashtag in his post of an excerpt, rife with sexual innuendo, from the classic Qing dynasty novel Dream of the Red Chamber. He added, “Uncle Policeman, what do you think about this?” Another user tagged an understated but clearly homoerotic passage from the same novel, ending with the dare, “Come and get me!”
We decided to scour Weibo to find a few more posts using the hashtag “sweep out yellow, strike at rumors” to tease the censors. Here’s what we found:
User 小光锅 wrote: A friend of mine got tricked into a pyramid scheme in Datong, Shaanxi, where the scam runs rampant. He is so brainwashed by the scheme that we can’t do anything to help him. Why doesn’t the government do anything about that?
Another user under the name 南宫龑 said: The aim of sweeping out yellow and striking at rumors is to supress the sales of Japanese products.
Referring to the recent crackdown on sex trade in Dongguan, dubbed China’s “sex capital”, Netizen 易会林 wrote to censors: Some non-prostitute, good-looking girls are struggling with finding husbands because of their Dongguan working experience.
Netizen 龙龙18碰到鬼: God knows what the Hengyang government officials are doing with the sweeping the yellow and striking at rumors campaign, it’s likely that they are just putting a ‘show’.
User 澜衣儿 simply posted this:
Well done, Weibo.
By Mandy Yang and Katie Nelson