Censorship in China: the Papi Jiang Case

| May 17th, 2016


The Chinese government is very well known for its love for censorship online and offline. Throughout history China has been very sensitive on the freedom of expression: political matters, religion, and so on. The Chinese government created what we call: “The Great Firewall of China” which literally blocks any kind of foreign websites that doesn’t abide to the government’s rules.  As you may already know, Facebook and Google to name only a few are forbidden in China.

The government has had a hold of Internet in China for several years now and it won’t stop sooner or later.

Chinese Internet rules

The SAPPRFT stands for (be prepared …) : State, Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television(国家广播电影电视总局 in Chinese). Its main aim is to control and supervise stated owned companies in the media industry and apparently any online celebrity as well. They make sure that the published content, showed on these media platforms, are not going against standard Chinese politics and Chinese culture customs.

End of April 2016, Papi Jiang an internet-famous celebrity was shut down by the SAPPRFT organization and is not allowed to post any videos anymore. Actually, most of her videos posted online are now unavailable and were deleted. There is apparently only one video available on YouKu (for the moment).

She was prohibited to act online because of she uses to many 4-letter words in her videos. The SAPPRFT decided that this was going against social norms and was a bad influence on Chinese children among others.

Who is Papi Jiang?

Papi Jiang, 29 years old, is a famous online comedian who broadcast her own videos. Her main topics of discussion are but not limited to: daily life, love and family relationships, media news, …

“Papi Jiang is a superstar in China and many Chinese are really fan of her jokes. She realize a funny critics about Chinese Society and it is logical that Beijing want to warn this Influencer” Explained Frank from TailorMade

Papi the Chinese Vlogging Superstar

Four organisations invested in her career with an amount of around 2 million USD. She gained within a couple of months 8 million followers. She is present here.on platforms such as Weibo, Youku or Douban. In February 2016, Papi Jiang posted a video. 4 minutes after, there were already 100,000 views!

More information about Papi Jiang on forbes

How do the Chinese government organisation justify its actions?

Guangzhou daily among other state-accepted online newspapers published several articles about the fact that 4-letters words should not be used. It should also align with Chinese government strong principles. If the content doesn’t, it should be deleted.

According to the following text posted by CNR and translated by TechinAsia, we can see that it’s for them pretty normal, “healthy” as they say, to control content. Actually, according to them, they are not the only one to that, The US apparently do that too …  :

Usually when they publish this information, the website’s employees will do a screening, and if they confirm it’s related to some vulgar content or coarse language or against public morals, they will screen or delete the content. So the content that the public sees has come through this filter, so it’s relatively healthy.

CNR article.

Apparently, they don’t make the difference between respecting the « terms of conditions » (no illegal content like: pornography, discrimination, …)

Influencers in China have to be Respect Chinese Rules!

Another thing that looks like a “good reason” for censoring the Chinese online artist Papi Jiang is the fact that having an online career is not worth it. Just like most of our parents, we should choose a stable and well-paid job. According to an article from Guangzhou daily, there are no fans on the Internet, no real source of income, and we can be easily replaced on the web …


(On this picture: Michelle Phan)

If we look at it closely, there are a lot of online celebrities and self-made millionaires in the US and even in France to name only a few: Lilly Singh (aka superwoman), Michelle Phan (owns her own companies), Cyprien (French comedian). They are all having a wonderful career.

To conclude, we can see that the Chinese government wants to show that they want to control not only Internet websites but also celebrities. They also want to show the fact that Internet in China is not a free-rule zone.

Olivier VEROT , I am running an Agency in Shanghai and help foreign Brands to have the right communication in China.

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