The ultimate protest against censorship

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People are doing this all over China now.


Selected readings



  1. Victor Mair said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 1:12 pm

    The hashtag: #báizhǐ #白纸 (#blank paper)

  2. 번하드 said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 1:43 pm

    Whoa, me that only knows a few dozen hanja (well, Korea's flavour of sinograms) spontaneosly guessed this must mean 백지(白紙)!
    The power of context and being accustomed to a language that requires a lot of it.

  3. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 5:11 pm

    Is this modelled on the anti-war protesters in Russia?

  4. Christian Horn said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 6:10 pm

    I would think that this context everybody on the world can establish, that this means "I have a right to say my opinion".

    Also in Japan we would call this 白紙.

  5. Chau said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 8:18 pm

    @Jarek Weckwerth: "Is this modelled on the anti-war protesters in Russia?"

    According to, it started in June 2020 in Hong Kong:

    The anti-government protest movement that escalated in June 2020 had spawned an explosion of public art and graffiti, some of it calling for independence for the Chinese-ruled territory or urging residents to “liberate” the financial hub.
    But the city’s government had said the popular slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," daubed on walls and banners, amounted to a call for separatism or subversion – offences punishable with long jail terms under the new law. In response, one 50-year-old campaigner held up a blank sheet of paper at a small lunch-time protest.
    The point, he had said was to highlight what he saw as censorship. And everyone already knew the slogans by heart, he added, so there was no longer any need to write them down.
    “These slogans will always be in my heart and those words will always stay on white paper, which will never disappear,” the man, who wore a mask and only gave his surname, Leung told Reuters.

  6. A-chan! said,

    November 27, 2022 @ 8:54 pm

    the hashtag as transcribed in different Chinese varieties as well as other Sino-Xenic transcriptions:

    >MSM Pinyin: báizhǐ
    >MSM Wade-Giles: pai-chih
    >Cantonese Jyutping: baak6 zi2
    >Cantonese Yale w/ tone markers: baahk jí
    >Hakka PFS: pha̍k-chṳ́
    >Min Bei KCR: bā-cṳě
    >Min Dong BUC: băh-cāi
    >Min Nan POJ: pe̍h-chóa
    >Korean RR: baekji
    >Japanese kana/romaji: はくし (hakushi)
    >Vietnamese Han Nom: bạch chỉ/giấy

  7. Jarek Weckwerth said,

    November 28, 2022 @ 3:33 pm

    @Chau: Thank you! That means that the traffic was actually the other way round. Interesting!

  8. Victor Mair said,

    December 1, 2022 @ 4:59 pm


  9. Victor Mair said,

    December 2, 2022 @ 8:10 am

    The CCP Tries to Cool Down the Blank Sheets of Paper Protest

    As protests against the authorities’ extreme COVID control policy are mushrooming throughout China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been attempting to douse the fire with what appears to be both carrots and sticks. Blank sheets of paper have become a symbol of resistance among those protesting Beijing’s COVID lockdown policies. They are showing up at protests across the nation. In a nation where a protest message could get a person jailed, opponents of the Chinese regime are innovating by using a a blank page to call for change. Thus, the blank sheet of paper has become a symbol of resistance

    The CCP issued a tough message through the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), the top CCP organ in charge of domestic security, and through the judicial system, with a meeting on November 28 to announce it would “resolutely crack down on the infiltration and sabotage activities of hostile forces, and resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt the social order.”

    Truckloads of armed police have been dispatched to Shanghai and Beijing. In Guangzhou, the police have clashed with protesters. Demonstrators have thrown glass bottles at the police, and the police have used tear gas to disperse the protestors.

    On the other hand, the central government has also made a conciliatory gesture regarding COVID restrictions. The National Health Commission stated on November 29 that “COVID control should lock down quickly and open up quickly (afterwards)” and “wherever it can open up, it should open up.”

    Some local authorities have yielded to protesters’ demands and relaxed COVID controls in certain regions. The Guangzhou government ended the lockdown in Haizhu District on Nov 16 after the public protest. Urumqi in Xinjiang released several residential neighborhoods on Nov 26 after people took to the streets and the Shanghai government announced that on Dec 1, it would end the control in 24 high-risk regions.

    Whether the CCP’s “hard and soft” strategy will completely quiet down the protest remains to be seen.

    1. Chinascope, November 29, 2022
    1. The Paper, November 29, 2022
    2. China Outlook, November 30, 2022
    | | December 2, 2022 | |

  10. Victor Mair said,

    December 2, 2022 @ 9:47 am

    "How Twitter’s 'Teacher Li' became the central hub of China protest information"

    MIT Technology Review
    Li, as told to Zeyi Yang

    December 2, 2022

    @李老师不是你老师 (“Teacher Li Is Not Your Teacher”)

    This only works because of VPNs,


    VPNs have always been illegal in the PRC. You can be arrested and fined for having and using one.

    The problem with strict regulation (Zero-VPN, as it were), is that the CCP — for SOME reasons — wants SOME people to have them:

    1. the CCP knows that the PRC couldn't function as a modern state in the world today if it completely shut down access to the global internet / WWW for ALL of its citizens

    2. elements of the CCP have a financial stake in the lucrative VPN business

  11. Victor Mair said,

    December 3, 2022 @ 12:05 pm

    China brings in ‘emergency’ level censorship over zero-Covid protests

  12. Victor Mair said,

    December 9, 2022 @ 8:19 pm

    ‘You become creative’: the art of protest in Xi’s China

    ‘Toad worship’ of the late premier Jiang Zemin has turned into nostalgia for a freer, more liberal era

    Thomas Hale 2 hours ago

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