Feb 28, 2018

China censored the letter "N" after Xi backlash on social media

A decorative plate featuring an image of Xi next to a statue of late communist leader Mao Zedong at a souvenir store in Beijing. Photo: Greg Baker / AFP via Getty Images

Chinese censors took swift action to ban certain words and phrases from Weibo, China's version of Twitter, amid fallout from the Communist Party's proposal to do away with presidential term limits, the Guardian reports.

The big picture: The move shows just how swift China's autocratic regime can be, especially as use of the letter "N" was blocked from the service for a period of time. Victor Mair, a China expert at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in a blog post that the decision came about “probably out of fear on the part of the government that ‘N’ = ‘n terms in office’, where possibly n > 2.”

Some more banned terms, per China Digital Times...

  • "Personality cult" (个人崇拜)
  • "Xi Zedong" (习泽东) — a mashup of the names of Xi and Mao Zedong
  • "1984" and "Animal Farm (动物庄园)" — George Orwell's two works on totalitarianism
  • "Incapable ruler" (昏君)
  • "Disagree" (不同意)
  • "Lifelong control" (终身制)
  • "Ascend the throne" (登基)
  • "Named emperor" (称帝)

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Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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