78512 - Transcription of Podcast With US #68: The language as human resistance in China

N. Lygeros

In this podcast we would like to talk about this smart strategy of China’s people to use language against censorship. So the idea is the following. The communist party is using exclusively in fact Mandarin. So to use Cantonese to talk about the decision of the government is a smart way to avoid the language censors because for them it is very difficult to understand this language. Because they are used to listening only to the official language and for example in this specific language we see that  Cantonese is very often informal and you can use this language to make easily word play and for that it’s very clever to use it because they can avoid the censorship and you can continue your protest, you can use it also for satire and with this manner China’s people can in reality fight against the party without any cost. So even for internet and we know that we have many problems at that level they use this language to protest efficiently and in fact to win some battles against the government at a different level and for us is a very good paradigm what human intelligence can do when it has to fight against barbarity. So the point is even if the party wants only one language to control everything, China’s people can use their own language and especially the Cantonese, to express the resistance and to protest without any cost because it’s not dangerous because in fact it creates many frictions in the system but it’s very difficult for the system to locate the problem and to understand in an efficient way the words they are using and the thoughts behind the words. So right now we can see that this kind of resistance can create something new, a change in the mentality of the people because they don’t want any more to be censored like this and they want to be more free, and they use the language of this freedom against the system of barbarity. We think that this is a very nice example in human resistance.