Global Voices: Political cartoonist Badiucao abruptly cancelled his Hong Kong exhibition — and then went silent

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“Gongle,” by Badiucao, is a play on words commenting on Google’s effort to re-enter China with a censored search engine. Used with permission.

Political cartoonist Badiucao was forced to cancel his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, due to threats from the central Chinese government.

The exhibition was scheduled to open on November 3 as the headline event at Hong Kong’s Free Expression Week. On November 2, the organizers announced they were cancelling the event:

We are sorry to announce that the exhibition “Gongle,” by Chinese artist Badiucao, has been cancelled due to safety concerns.

The decision follows threats made by the Chinese authorities relating to the artist. Whilst the organisers value freedom of expression, the safety of our partners remains a major concern.

Badiucao has built his reputation on Twitter, drawing political cartoons that challenge censorship and dictatorship in China. The Chinese-Australian artist’s work has been featured by The New York Times and The Guardian.

The event was seen by many as a test of the limits of free speech in Hong Kong, which enjoys more freedoms than mainland China, under a principle known as “One Country, Two Systems.” In recent years, Beijing has more forcefully asserted its influence over Hong Kong. Those who support more democratic rights, such as genuine universal suffrage, or outright independence, have faced fierce repression.

The organizers have not described the nature of the threats that the artist received. He is typically outspoken online, but has not updated his Twitter since November 1.

Badiucao had not intended to travel to Hong Kong, but was supposed to participate in a panel discussion via video call with Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, Hong Kong artists Sampson Wong and Oscar Ho, and Russian punk-rock protesters Olga Kuracheva and Veronika Nikulshina, both members of the band Pussy Riot.

Although the exhibition was cancelled, the panelists decided to proceed and hold a discussion about art and freedom of expression in a small studio. They live-streamed the event on Facebook.

Cedric Alviani, Olga Kuracheva, Veronika Nikulshina and Joshua Wong. Image from Hong Kong Free Press. Use with permission.

Chinese non-profit media the Stand News reported on the panel discussion in which Sampson Wong expressed concerns about Badiucao’s safety. He explained that he has been trying to contact the artist since November 2, but that Badiucao has been incommunicado. Wong saw the exhibition as a test case for freedom of expression in Hong Kong. He was disappointed that more people had not spoken out against the threats from Beijing.

Oscar Ho, a local art critic and scholar, was shocked by the cancellation. He pointed out that Beijing’s censorship practices in Hong Kong are unclear. There is a general expectation that Hong Kongers “should know” where the red line lies, but there are relatively few clear indications of what is and is not permissible. He expressed a desire for people to be more creative in fighting against censorship.

Joshua Wong said he wanted more exchange with international civil society, in hopes that international networks could help local groups defend democracy and freedom.

Pussy Riot member Olga Kuracheva emphasized the importance of public support and solidarity for people like Badiucao:

We are very sorry to know that things are getting worse here. I think it is very important to be here now just to express our solidarity… I would advise people not to be afraid, because one voice is not so much…but voices of solidarity should sound loud. (Quote from Hong Kong Free Press’ report)

Kuracheva and Nikulshina are among four members of Pussy Riot who served a 15-day jail sentence after protesting against Russian leader Vladimir Putin during the football World Cup final in Moscow in July 2018. They said threats to exhibitions and political art events are “common practice” in Russia.

Cedric Alviani from Reporters Without Borders pointed out that Hong Kong’s ranking on RSF’s press freedom index has dropped from 18 in 2002 to 70 in 2018. He believed that the best way to support artists under threat is to disseminate their works in spaces where it is possible to do so.

Global Voices


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Global Voices по-русски: Бразильский анимационный сериал о дрэг-квин подвергнут критике по «моральным соображениям»

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Анимационный сериал «Супер Дрэг» рассказывает историю трёх молодых парней, превращающихся по ночам в дрэг-квин.| Изображение: Netflix/ Public

[Ссылки ведут на статьи на португальском языке, если не указано иного].

В конце мая 2018 года Netflix анонсировал запуск [анг] «Супер Дрэг», первого мультсериала, созданного в Бразилии. История описывает жизнь трёх молодых парней, днём работающих в универмаге, а ночью превращающихся в супергероев — дрэг-квин [ру].

Фанаты выразили [анг] заинтересованность сериалом, но разные консервативно настроенные группы атаковали сериал фейковыми новостями касательно его содержимого. Согласно статье из интернет-издания O Estado de São Paulo, один из пользователей социальных сетей обвинил анимационный сериал в «провокации гомосексуальности среди детей» и «оправдании лесбийских и других сексуальных наклонностей».

Netflix выпускает и другие анимационные сериалы для взрослых, такие как «Конь БоДжек» [ру] и «Рик и Морти» [ру], но только сериал «Супер Дрэг» разжег такие споры.

Бразильское педиатрическое сообщество (Sociedade Brasileira de Pediatria, БПС) опубликовало официальное заявление с осуждением мультфильма, «выразив обеспокоенность» тем, что «Супер Дрэг» будут доступны детской аудитории Netflix:

A SBP respeita a diversidade e defende a liberdade de expressão e artística no País, no entanto, alerta para os riscos de se utilizar uma linguagem iminentemente infantil para discutir tópicos próprios do mundo adulto, o que exige maior capacidade cognitiva e de elaboração por parte dos espectadores.

БПС уважает разнообразие и защищает свободу слова и искусства в стране, однако предупреждает о рисках использования явно детского языка в обсуждении тем, относящихся ко взрослому миру, так как это требует от зрителей использования когнитивных способностей и обработки информации в большей степени.

Федеральный прокурор также попросил Netflix не включать данный сериал в детскую категорию, ссылаясь на обязанность «защищать индивидуальные неотъемлемые права, широкие или коллективные» детей и подростков.

Однако Netflix никогда не сообщал, что этот анимационный сериал будет доступен детской аудитории. Интернет-издание O Estado do São Paulo добавило фрагмент заявления Netflix для прояснения слухов:

Super Drags é uma série de animação para uma audiência adulta e não estará disponível na plataforma infantil. A seção dedicada às crianças combinada com o recurso de controlar o acesso aos nossos títulos faz com que pais confiem em nosso serviço como um espaço seguro e apropriado para os seus filhos. As crianças podem acessar apenas o nosso catálogo infantil e colocamos o controle nas mãos dos pais sobre quando e a que tipo de conteúdo seus filhos podem assistir.

«Супер Дрэг» — это анимационный сериал для взрослой аудитории, и он не будет доступен на детской платформе. В разделе для детей имеется возможность контролировать доступ к контенту, что позволяет родителям доверять нашему сервису, делает его безопасным и подходящим местом для их детей. Детям доступен только детский раздел, при этом мы передаем контроль того, когда и к какому контенту у них есть доступ, в руки их родителей.

Netflix подчеркивает, что «вопросы разнообразия и включения подобных тем очень важны для компании». Сериал будет выпущены позже в 2018 году.

Бразильские пользователи интернета защищают новый сериал

Бразильские пользователи интернета заявляют, что к «Супер Дрэг» намеренно придрались:

Если «Супер Дрэг» — анимационный сериал для взрослых, почему же Бразильское педиатрическое сообщество так печется об этом?

Забавно, Бразильскому педиатрическому сообществу стоило бы тогда попытаться заблокировать все мультики для взрослых на Netflix, м? Но тогда почему они выбрали только «Супер Дрэг»?

Пользователь Twitter Não Me Kahlo вспомнил старые мультфильмы, никогда не подвергавшиеся цензуре:

Бразильское педиатрическое сообщество (БПС) «выражает обеспокоенность в связи с дебютом анимационного сериала, сюжет которого крутится вокруг молодых парней, превращающихся в супергероинь-дрэг-квин». Мультик «Супер Дрэг» от @NetflixBrasil, это мультик для ВЗРОСЛЫХ.

Есть вопросы?

Предубеждения против ЛГБТИ-сообщества

Предубеждения против сериала можно связать с глубоко закоренелым отношением к выражению гендера в бразильском обществе.

Хотя некоторые критики признают разницу между дрэг-культурой как шоу и более глубокими спорами о гендерной идентичности, сериал бьёт по больному месту, затрагивая национальное отношение к лесбиянкам, геям, бисексуалам, трансгендерам и интерсекс-людям (ЛГБТИ).

Бразилия — страна с одним из самых высоких уровней зарегистрированного насилия против ЛГБТИ-людей. Согласно Национальной ассоциации трасвеститов и трассексуалов Бразилии, 179 трасгендеров и людей, переодевающихся в одежду противоположного пола, были убиты в Бразилии в 2017 году.

В интервью с интернет-изданием Nexo Journal, психолог Дезире Монтейру Кордейру, работающая с Трансдисциплинарной клиникой гендерной идентичности и сексуальной ориентации, сказала, что согласна с необходимостью защищать детей от сексуальной откровенности и контента с насилием, но критика сериала больше связана с табу:

Os rapazes se transformam em drags e ganham superpoderes. O Super-Homem também põe uma fantasia para combater o crime e isso não é uma questão (…) Se ainda não se sabe nada sobre a série, por que essa retaliação? Isso é censura. Se a criança não dormir às 20h e assistir à novela, ela também vai estar exposta a sexo e violência. É um conteúdo que não é pensado para a criança.

Парни превращаются в дрэг-квин и получают суперсилы. Супермен также надевал костюм для борьбы со злом, и это не обсуждалось. Если вы до сих пор ничего не знаете о сериале, откуда такая реакция? Это цензура. Если ребенок не идет спать в 8 часов вечера и смотрит мыльную оперу, он также не будет защищен от секса и насилия. Этот контент не предназначен для детей.

Кордейру также подчеркнула важность обсуждения гендера и сексуальности с детьми в спокойной обстановке:

Falar de identidade de gênero e sexualidade, homossexuais, travestis, transexuais, nas escolas ou onde quer que seja, não significa que tem alguém ali tentando incutir na cabeça das crianças que a diversidade sexual é linda e todo mundo tem que ser também.

(…)

Não é comum, mas existem crianças transexuais. Nesse caso, os outros pais devem conversar porque, no caso de uma escola, as crianças vão questionar. E geralmente elas lidam de um modo muito mais simples. Elas olham e perguntam se é menino ou menina. Dada a resposta, a vida segue e elas vão brincar.

Обсуждение гендерной идентичности и сексуальности, гомосексуальности, переодевания, трансгендеров, в школах или где бы вы ни были, не означает, что кто-то пытается вдалбливать в головы детям, что сексуальное разнообразие — это прекрасно и что все должны быть такими.

(…)

Это редкость, но есть дети-трансгендеры. В таком случае, родители должны говорить на такие темы, потому что, находясь в школьном окружении, дети будут задавать вопросы. И, вообще, дети принимают это гораздо легче. Они смотрят, спрашивают, кто перед ними — мальчик или девочка. Получив ответ, они вместе идут играть и жизнь продолжается.

Перевод: Светлана Алембекова

Global Voices по-русски


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Global Voices: Apple censors sensitive words from device-engraving service in Hong Kong and China

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Image by Georgia Popplewell, used with permission.

The following post was written by Chris Cheng and published on Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) on November 2, 2018. The republication is based on a partnership agreement.

The names of some Chinese state leaders and activists have been deemed “inappropriate words” and censored from the latest versions of a device-engraving service offered for the iPad, iPod Touch and Apple Pencil, Hong Kong Free Press has found.

When customers order one of these devices from Apple’s website, the company offers to have the device engraved free of charge. However, Apple’s Chinese-language websites for stores in Hong Kong and mainland China have banned certain words from the service.

For instance, if a customer types “Xi Jinping” (the name of China’s president) in Chinese characters, the following warning appears: “Inappropriate words are not allowed.” Customers are unable to save the engraving text or proceed with the purchase.

“Xi Jinping” is not allowed in traditional and simplified Chinese characters on Apple’s mainland China store. Photo: HKFP.

Tests by HKFP showed that the issue is location and language-specific. “Xi Jinping” is still permissible in English when entered into the English-language Hong Kong website.

If one tries to “Xi Jinping” in Cyrillic, however, on either the Chinese or English-language Hong Kong stores, the website returns the message: “These characters cannot be engraved”. However, the mainland China store accepts the name in Cyrillic.

“Xi Dada,” a common nickname for Xi, is banned in traditional Chinese characters in both the Chinese-language Hong Kong and China stores, but it is permitted in simplified Chinese.

‘Sensitive’ names and phrases banned

The Chinese-language sites for Hong Kong and mainland China stores also ban the names of other current and former Chinese state leaders in Chinese characters. These include Li Keqiang, Liu He, Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong, and Hu Jintao. But names of many other current and former Politburo members are allowed, such as Yang Jiechi and Wen Jiabao.

The names of some — but not all — of the state’s most prominent critics are banned too. The name of late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo is accepted, but the name of his wife, the prominent poet Liu Xia, is banned. “Falun Gong” is also banned.

“Guo Wengui,” a Chinese billionaire in self-imposed exile who often attacks top state leaders, is not allowed in simplified Chinese characters. But if a customer requests that “Guo Wengui” be engraved using traditional Chinese characters, it will be accepted.

At the mainland China store, the full version of the phrase “Taiwan independence” – comprising the four characters 台灣獨立 – is banned in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters. But the shorthand version of “Taiwan independence” – comprising the two characters 台獨 – is allowed in both forms of the language.

“Hong Kong independence” is allowed in all forms on the store website, but the phrase “one-party dictatorship” is banned on the Chinese language local site.

Profanities prohibited

The word “fuck” and Chinese equivalents such as 操 and 屌, are also banned. As a result, words containing those Chinese characters are banned too, such as the name of ancient Chinese warlord “Cao Cao” (曹操) and the word “gymnastics” (體操).

Another Chinese character – 幹 – meaning “fuck” is allowed. But if customers use the character to create profanities, the word is banned. Other profanities such as “shit” and “piss” are also banned.

Wong Ho-wa, a software engineer, told HKFP that the results showed that censorship was taking place, but “it seems broken.”

“I suspect it was done by artificial intelligence,” he said. “I believe the original intention was to prevent words with negative sentiment or obscene words from being engraved, but Apple did not realise that some politically sensitive words – which are not negative – were not allowed as well.”

Reflecting on the inconsistency in prohibited words and phrases between the different languages and sites, Wong suggested that it was unlikely the banned keywords were manually entered as a list: “Otherwise, we’re unable to explain why Taiwan independence in the short form was allowed, but Taiwan independence in the full form was not allowed,” he said.

HKFP has reached out to Apple for comment.

Global Voices


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Global Voices: Suicide attack against Russia’s domestic intelligence agency spells more trouble for activists

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Anti-torture and police brutality rally in Moscow, June 10, 2018. Banner says: “Fight every day! Against persecution, repression and trumped-up charges!” // DonSimon, Wikimedia under CC0

On October 31st, a seventeen-year-old suicide bomber set off an explosive in the FSB (the Federal Security Service, Russia’s primary domestic intelligence agency) building in Arkhangelsk, Russia — killing themselves and injuring three more. The act was allegedly in reaction to the existing persecution of leftist activists by the government, and has led many to fear fierce repercussions for left-wing groups in the country.  

Just minutes earlier, a message appeared in a Telegram chat channel for Russian anarchists. It read “Comrades, the FSB building in Arkhangelsk is about to be hit by a terrorist attack, which I will claim responsibility for. The reasons are perfectly clear to you all. Since the FSB has crossed the f***g line, fabricating cases and torturing people, I’ve decided to go for it…I wish you all a glorious anarcho-communist future!”

Two days later, an even younger teenager was arrested in Moscow after an improvised explosive device was discovered in his apartment. Police allege that this suspect had previously been in contact with the Arkhangelsk bomber. If the Telegram message (allegedly from the bomber) is to be believed, the FSB’s actions motivated the two teenagers to extremist action.

For just over a year, the FSB has been arresting anarchist and antifascist activists as part of the “Network” case. According to the FSB, the suspects are part of a terror group known as “The Network”, with cells all over the country planning to carry out terrorist attacks, including during the World Cup.

Those arrested, however, paint a different picture, one of coerced confessions and torture ranging from suffocation by plastic bag and being beaten with tasers and stun batons. They believe they are being singled out for their leftist views and are being charged under fabricated pretenses. Other left-wing activists have also reported increased government scrutiny as the Network case continued to grow.

The FSB hasn’t limited these tactics to explicitly left-wing circles either. Around the same time that the Network case was taking off, the FSB alleges that it discovered and disbanded another underground extremist group called “New Greatness”. They claim that New Greatness sought to violently overthrow the Russian government, pointing to oppositional literature found at the suspects’ homes and chat logs obtained from Telegram. The so-called movement originated on Telegram, where the suspects, mostly teenagers, met to discuss their oppositional political views.

The suspects claim that this was merely a social group that attended other political rallies and actions. Some reports suggest that the FSB created the group in the hopes of luring and entrapping Russians with views contrary to the current Russian government.

With both these cases being publicized at the same time, public outcry grew. The parents of those arrested in the “New Greatness” case organized a march in Moscow, and spontaneous rallies and pickets in support of “Network” and “New Greatness” defendants have been ongoing. It would seem that this increased uptick in publicity and outrage may have pushed the two anarchists in Arkhangelsk and Moscow into taking more serious action: planning and carrying out bombings.

Russian leftists are split over this tactic, but most are in agreement that this could set off another round of repression. Sergei Udaltsov, the leader of Left Front, a leftist organization with close ties to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, tweeted:

A 17-year-old technical school student who considered himself an anarchist blew himself up today at the FSB’s Arkhangelsk regional office. Now the authorities have wonderful grounds for starting new persecutions and increasing scrutiny of oppositionists. It looks like a planned-out setup…

Left Block, a small leftist group oriented towards direct street action, also doubted the veracity of the claims that the Arkhangelsk bomber was indeed an anarchist. In a post on VKontakte, the most popular Russian social network, the group continued by denouncing the use of terror, citing a long tradition of left-wing terrorism and its questionable efficacy.  As for the potential repercussions, the group took a more “optimistic” approach, saying:

Мы уже живем в мире, где пытки и репрессии стали обыденным делом, где могут посадить за лайк, а сотрудники ФСИН могут творить полный ад в отношении заключенных. И им за это ничего не будет.

“Какие еще “репрессии” вам, блять, нужны?

We live in a word where torture and repression have become an everyday occurrence, where you can go to jail for a like, where federal jailers can create total hell for prisoners. And nothing will happen to them because of this. What more f***g “repression” do you need?

This optimism may be short-lived. Shortly after the Arkhangelsk bomber was allegedly identified, a journalist reached out to someone on social media under the same name. The police immediately set out to question him. Though the journalist was once involved in the antifascist movement in the Arkhangelsk region, he stressed that he hasn’t been back there in years, and only wrote to the suspect to verify if he had found the correct profile. Around the same time, a socialist in the city of Perm received a phone call from the FSB, saying they needed to speak with her about the Arkhangelsk bombing. She rejected their invitation:

Я к ним не поеду. У меня глубокий вечер, и я имею право на отдых. Они ко мне приедут. Надеюсь, что они ограничатся тем, что сообщат, что мне не надо взрывать пермское ФСБ. Но я как-то и не собиралась.

I’m not going to them. It’s very late in the evening where I am now, and I have the right to relax. They’ll come to me. I hope they’ll just tell me I don’t have to blow up the Perm FSB office. I wasn’t planning on it anyway.

A similar situation played out with a member of “The Other Russia” (a conservative party of self-proclaimed socialists with an emphasis on ethnic Russian nationalism and nostalgic imperialism), who reported being called by an investigator who wanted to know his views on what happened in Arkhangelsk. In another event seemingly unrelated to the bombing, an activist in Tver was approached by an FSB officer. The activist claims the officer suddenly got into his car and suggested they start cooperating. After refusing, the officer threatened to charge him for participating in the unfurling of a banner that read “Take the FSB to court.”

Leftist chat groups on Telegram are still abuzz with news of the attack. These chat groups are fully open to the public; one doesn’t even need to formally join to be able to read discussions. Several members reminded others to operate on the assumption that the police were already in the chat.

Some lauded the bomber’s efforts. Pictures were uploaded honoring him. Other users called for more extreme action. A few trolls popped up sporadically expressing their wish to see everyone there behind bars. Even non-leftist chat groups are on notice, as several participants of libertarian chats reported being questioned by police after the bombing.  

Regardless of whether or not this will reignite sweeping arrests as with the Network and New Greatness Cases, Russian activists of all stripes should be wary of posting potentially incriminating material online, and be vigilant about being associated with the terror attack.

Already, prominent TV host Vladimir Soloviev, known for his pro-Putin views, blasted opposition journalists and politicians, casting the blame for the attack on them, saying “They aren’t people, they’re rats.” The fact that these journalists, not anarchists or socialists by any means, are being unfairly slandered and associated with the attack could indicate that the prevailing mood will soon mean more persecution for any opposition figures and activists.

Global Voices


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