Countries around the world are aware of the severe censorship that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) applies to every aspect of Chinese citizens’ lives, especially on the internet, in books, the media, and even programs and applications for cell phones and computers.
In addition, the CCP is known for using strict methods of control through censors of “sensitive,”, that is banned, words. These censors delete or remove any website, social network containing for example words such as “Tiananmen Massacre” or “June 4th.”
However, the CCP never imagined the possibility that its censorship tools could be used against Chinese theft and plagiarism.
A Japanese artist, named Amou_Fushi on Twitter, a member of Pixiv, a website for anime cartoonists and comic novels, whose works can be read in several languages, including simplified Chinese, had long been trying to evade Chinese piracy.
The young cartoonist who knew about the sensitive words, and added them to 18 of his works. the websites that plagiarized his work were found and removed by the CCP’s censors, making them disappear from sight.
The pirate website was called “Vpixiv” copied of the original “Pixiv.”
An anime fan cartoonist wrote in a tweet, “I wonder how many Chinese sites will become extinct as the example sheet spreads.”
In another post, he wrote that he discovered that more than 20 plagiarized works were removed within an hour.
Since then, the hacked web pages appear as error 404, that is they are no longer accessible.
Following posts on Twitter, about how these illustrious Japanese use Chinese censorship to remove plagiarism from their stolen comics, many people gave their opinions on the matter.
A Chinese netizen said, “The Japanese people used two kinds of magic in order not to be stolen.”
Zhu Rui, a German university professor, said the interesting thing about the incident is that the Japanese cartoonist used the CCP’s stable censorship mechanisms to counter Chinese piracy, which has so damaged the rights and interests of many foreign countries.
Wang Lon, a French independent film commentator and director, said, “Once overseas find a way to deal with Chinese piracy and intellectual property theft, whether from a legislative standpoint, or decoupling, or magic such as adding CCP-sensitive words, the proud Chinese style ‘high speed development’ of the pinkies will be knocked back.”
The Japanese website Pixiv, which was established in 2007, is a website with illustrations, comics, novels, and artwork created by authors from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the United States, and China.
Although in China, the site has been blocked by the Great Firewall (GFW) since September 2017.
In September 2020, Pixiv partnered with China Blue Bay Boyue Tumeng in order to enter the Chinese market.
However, in August, Pixiv issued a statement saying that it would disassociate itself from Tumeng on September 12.
Tumeng is an illustration posting service operated by Beijing Lanwan Boyue Technology Co. Ltd. Lanwan Boyue was established in June 2018, with a capital of 2 million yuan ($202,000), currently represented by Wang Wei and has investments in nine other companies.
CCP censor robots work at unprecedented speed
Many words such as the Tiananmen Massacre are “sensitive” for the CCP and internet platforms and even more so for its anniversary.
Search censors are on the lookout for any publication that mentions the facts in protest or in favor of democracy.
Chinese internet companies explained that censors search for banned words, and detect and block them with unprecedented levels of accuracy.
Two employees of a Chinese company, who declined to give their names for security reasons, said that censorship of the Tiananmen Massacre, and other sensitive words such as Taiwan and Tibet, are removed in an automated fashion.
On the other hand, the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department has increasingly tightened its control over the internet and the media.
“When it comes to news, the rule is simple. … If it is not from state media first, it is not authorized, especially regarding the leaders and political items,” said one Baidu staffer.
He went on to say, “We have a basic list of keywords, which include the 1989 details, but (AI) can more easily select those.”
In addition, companies that fail to properly censor banned content face severe fines, suspensions, and even imprisonment.
However, a crafty Japanese man managed to get the censors, who serve to silence citizens who speak the truth, to act on the criminal behavior of Chinese pirates, eliminating the intellectual property theft from the anime website.