November 20, 2018

A Chinese Artist Takes Aim at Google's Censored Search

“Badiucao’s new exhibition launches in Hong Kong on November 3, but the Chinese artist and cartoonist won’t be attending it, because he’s scared that if he does he’ll be “disappeared” by Communist Party of China (CPC) agents.

“I’m worried I’d become another Gui Minhai,” Badiucao told me in a phone interview, referring to the Swedish national who ‘went missing’ in Thailand in 2015 after publishing books about Chinese President Xi Jinping, and who remains in the custody of Chinese authorities.

Irked by Google readying a new search engine that will censor subjects the CPC wants hidden from the Chinese public—such as its human rights abuses against over a million Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region—Badiucao has prepared Gongle: his new exhibition. He has depicted Google CEO Sundar Pichai wearing a Trump-esque red cap bearing the slogan ‘Make wall great again’: a reference to the CPC’s ‘Great Firewall,’ that blocks thousands of sites and apps, including Google’s search engine.

Badiucao is a pseudonym and the artist resides outside China. Such caution is sensible in the current climate. Badiucao made his name, albeit a fake one, by being a sharp critic of the Chinese government, celebrating political prisoners like the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and ridiculing President Xi Jinping in his works.

In China, where Xi’s crackdown on free speech and dissent has shocked human rights groups, such work would likely see Badiucao jailed for “subversion.” But by working abroad and in the shadows he has been able to escape repercussions, and has now focused his critical crosshairs on Google. Last month he got a batch of the caps made for real and distributed them around Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"...after five months of canceled meetings and muted statements of dissatisfaction by both countries, experts say there is no sign of progress toward the Singapore goal of so-called "denuclearization" of the North."

"The presidential news conferences have become frustrating to watch and, doubtless, are frustrating for President Trump to engage in. While we have freedom of the press in our country, we should not tolerate unprofessionalism."

"It's highly unlikely that Israel's center-left parties will form a coalition to run together in the 2019 election, but they should not abandon efforts to find common ground to fight for."

"Cam has the brilliant audacity to argue that the internet isn’t about connecting people. Netflix’s slick, saucy new horror noir understands the existential terror of losing your carefully curated fictional internet persona."

"Wealthy nations have strong currencies. A strong dollar allows Americans to buy goods, services and resources from other countries at low prices."

"China’s leaders like the internet they have created. And now, they want to direct the nation’s talent and tech acumen toward an even loftier end: building an innovation-driven economy, one that produces world-leading companies."

"At an inaugural desert festival of yogis and spirit guides like Russell Brand, an exclusive industry grapples with consumerism, addiction, and the actual meaning of wellness."

"The confusing thing about Franzen is that even people who hate him admit that he is a great novelist, and even people who love him admit that his essays are often a little on the insufferable..."

"“And just like that” or “in the blink of an eye” are familiar captions on parenting milestone photos. But for me, while the days were long, not even one year flew by."

"How the Silicon Valley set fell in love with sourdough and decided to disrupt the 6,000-year-old craft of making bread, one crumbshot at a time."

"...everyone can — and should — learn quantum mechanics. It’s not rocket science — it’s a fundamental part of how our world works, and not as complex as you might fear."

"New Hebrew University initiative brings international students to Yoga studio run by Breslov Hasidim for course on 'Judaism and the Body.'"