The handwriting and Chinese characters reveal the identities of the writers and the context of the time. Nowadays, in order to avoid the state's censorship of certain sensitive words, Chinese netizens use many self-created abbreviations and codenames, including Chinese Pinyin (the Romanization of the Chinese characters based on their pronunciation) initials, numbers, and English letters, etc.; People also use various techniques to hide the text to avoid the automatic screening of websites. These bizarre ways of writing have increased on Chinese social media to the point that they are beyond the comprehension of the average reader.
In this project, as a native Chinese language user, I practice writing Chinese characters that include many abbreviations and codenames that I have invented or that are commonly used on the Internet. Writing process videos and practice notebooks are my documentation and reflections on self-censorship.
By expressing this phenomenon through a beginner's handwriting method, I hope to convey the serious issues that surround it. A way of writing like this becomes a conscious or unconscious compromise to censorship on a daily basis, which affects communication and a person's way of thinking. The ambiguity of language may lead to thought confusion and further self-censorship.
Globalization has also made it difficult for many governments and multinational corporations to avoid sensitive issues when dealing with countries with different ideologies. Through this project, I want to document the absurdities of current online Chinese writing on social media and open a discussion about unconscious self-censorship from various perspectives.
Writing content source: Capitalism and ‘Culturecide’ By Ai Weiwei, published by New York Times on Jan. 13, 2020
Weiwei, Ai. “Capitalism and 'Culturecide'.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Jan. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/opinion/ai-weiwei-germany-china.html?_ga=2.140183859.1689625638.1618265608-1692423815.1614881457.