Cartoons Make it All Okay
Everyone — except perhaps those who have been living under a rock — knows that the Chinese government censors the internet. Nobody, except the Chinese government, is happy about it, but it's what they do. However, when they try to censor an 8.0 Mw earthquake, it gets a little bit strange, to say the least.
Like countless others worldwide, our condolences go out to the families of the 65,000+ casualties, as well as the hundreds of thousands of injured and displaced individuals. Presumably, the Chinese government feels the same way, as they allowed what seemed to be unregulated coverage of the disaster by news sites and bloggers — to a point. Once the chatter spread to the government's response, the censors were back in full force, reminding web-dwellers to play nice, or pay the price.
That, however, wasn't what caught our attention. What reached out and grabbed hold of our newsroom was the way the censors spread their message: via two uniformed cartoon characters, Jing Jing and Cha Cha, who will presumably cha-cha your jing-jing up the river if you get out of line. What exactly do these animated autocrats have to say, you ask? "Don't accept vulgar content. Advance harmony." How quaint.
What we want to know now is, how far will this spread? Should we expect to find Garfield popping up on LOLcats, warning that one more bad cat joke and Odie gets offed? Dilbert popping up on Working Daze, growling that there's only room in this town for one geeky office comic? One thing we can say is, if a little animated Ballmer turns up here on LJ, threatening to release another version of Internet Explorer if we don't stop bashing Evil Incorporated, we're sending out Shawn Powers and the Buntu Family to scare the daylights out of him.