The times they might be a changin’ on the Chinese Internet. The Chinese, long lovers of Three Stooges and Mr Bean-like visual laugh making, are taking plunges into the deep end of the humor pool and everyone seems to be loving it, save the censors. Picked up via the China Digital Times: “China’s Southern Metropolis Weekly magazine recently reported this shocking news: The central government created universal health care for the country’s 1.3 billion people, wiped out bribery and reduced the country’s wide income gap. And Migrant workers in the southern city of Guangzhou, notorious for its sweatshops, were “happy” and “respected,” the magazine reported in its print and Web editions. Of course, it was political parody and all untrue.” It is the start of a new Internet fashion. Not everyone enjoys the freedom to thumb their pens at the central governmeng like brilliant Hong Kong cartoonist Harry Harrison at the South China Morning Post: Yahoo censorship Harry, who hammers Beijing and Washington with equal force, is in for some grass roots competition. Sardonic wit is the new censorship survival, escape and evasion tool of the masses. Its new name, pretty sarcastic on its own, is “egao” or “evil work” in literal translation. The mainland’s traditional artists ( I love this site!) have gotten a bit bolder of late: Chinese Cartoon But their political humor, fantastic as it is, remains chiefly aimed at America and Western targets or generally accepted social problems. That would, of course, be a self-preservation move. You won’t last long on a newspaper staff drawing the hand that feeds you: Chinese Cartoon The word egao describes “a subculture that is characterized by humor, revelry, subversion, grass-root spontaneity, defiance of authority, mass participation and multi-media high tech…” was a definition that appeared in China Daily recently. With aggregators, bulliten boards and instant messaging the ordinary citizen is braving consequences by not adhering to the government censorship of all media. Movies, cartoons and viral e-mails are slicing and dicing up everything that the Chinese find troublesome in the Middle Kingdom. I cannot wait to see a copy of “Crazy Stone,” that friends and media reports have said is a pie in the face to about everything sacred in China. At one point “The movie targets Chinese officials in a scene where the main character realizes the ornament has been stolen but decides against calling the police.’The police?’ he asks as he drags on a cigarette. ‘If we call the cops, we’ll lose everything. They’ll just mess things up.'” The shortest distance between two people is definitely a smile! FYI: Onemanbandwidth seems to be back in the websphere in China. It was on and off blocked over the last few days in various parts of the country. Here’s to my release from Cyber-hold! Long Live Egao!

by Lonnie Hodge @ OMBW 

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