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‘Free speech absolutist’ Elon Musk pursues ‘like-minded Chinese partners’ in column for China’s online censor

  • Elon Musk recently contributed to China Wangxin, a magazine launched by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s government agency that oversees online censorship.
  • The article, titled “Believe in technology, create a better future,” was published in the magazine’s fourth issue in July.
  • Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” became the first foreigner to write for the CAC’s magazine, which typically features pieces written by government officials, professors and state-owned enterprise executives.
  • “I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity,” the SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO wrote, according to a translated version. “To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.”
  • “I also welcome more like-minded Chinese partners to join us in exploring clean energy, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration, and space exploration to create a future worth waiting for,” Musk concluded.

Elon Musk has become the first foreigner to write an article for a Chinese magazine launched by China’s official agency that oversees online censorship.

The 51-year-old SpaceX founder claimed he was invited earlier this year by China Wangxin, the magazine of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), to write an article about his “thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity.”

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ was banned from Malaysian theaters due to LGBTQ content, reveals official

  • Malaysia has banned “Thor: Love and Thunder” from local theaters due to its LGBTQ content.
  • The Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin said on Wednesday that the government and its religious department, the Islamic Affairs Department (JAKIM), would continue to double down on the spread of LGBTQ culture.
  • In “Thor,” both Valkyrie and Korg caused a stir after Valkyrie is shown ruling Asgard as its openly gay king while Korg finds love with another member of his all-male species.
  • On the same day that Zahidi made these comments, Human Rights Watch and transgender rights group Justice for Sisters published a report that denounced the government’s criminalization of same-sex conduct and push for conversion therapy.

Malaysia has banned Marvel’s latest movie “Thor: Love and Thunder” from releasing in theaters as the government moves to bolster censorship of LGBTQ content.

Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board (LPF) already banned “Lightyear” from premiering in local theaters earlier this year after requests for cuts to be made to the film were denied by Disney. The “Toy Story” spin-off, which featured Buzz’s friend Alisha Hawthorne in a same-sex marraige, was banned in at least 16 Muslim-majority countries.

China censors news on hacker selling personal info of 1 billion citizens from stolen police database

  • China has reportedly blocked news about a hacker who claimed to have stolen a local police database and subsequently offered to sell it for 10 bitcoin (about $200,000).
  • The leaked Shanghai National Police database allegedly contains 23 terabytes of data including personal information from 1 billion Chinese citizens.
  • The breach remains unconfirmed and Chinese authorities have yet to make a public statement regarding the issue.

China is reportedly blocking news about a hacker who claimed to have stolen a police database containing information on 1 billion citizens and offered to sell it for 10 bitcoin (approximately $200,000).

The anonymous hacker, who goes by the username ChinaDan, said the database contains more than 23 terabytes of data including personal information, such as addresses, mobile numbers and criminal histories.

Brain wave-scanning helmet developed by scientists to help Chinese censors better detect porn

  • Researchers at Beijing Jiaotong University in China have developed a brainwave-tracking helmet that aids professional censors in better screening explicit content online.
  • According to the researchers, both A.I.-based algorithms and human censors have limitations in accurately recognizing images in certain instances.
  • Porn censors wearing the helmet only need to face a computer screen for the device to automatically flag pornography based on the user’s spike in brainwaves.
  • The device can adapt to the brainwaves of its user and filter out noises in the brain signal which may be caused by emotion, weariness or other distractions.
  • The team placed the current overall accuracy of the device at 80 percent, which it attributes to a lack of available training materials.

Chinese scientists have reportedly developed and tested a device that aims to help online censors better police pornography in the country.

Researchers at Beijing Jiaotong University in China created a helmet that can track the brain waves of its wearers. The scientists published their findings in the domestic peer-reviewed Journal of Electronic Measurement and Instrumentation earlier this month.

WHO chief censored in China after he said its zero-COVID policy is unsustainable

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was censored in China after calling the country’s zero-COVID policy unsustainable at a press briefing.
  • The official’s comments, as well as his images and videos containing those comments, were immediately scrubbed from Weibo and WeChat, according to reports.
  • Tedros was seen as an ally of China early in the pandemic when the WHO praised Beijing for its response and echoed its statement that there was “no clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission.
  • In response to Tedros’ comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China hopes relevant people can “view China's policy of epidemic prevention and control objectively” and “refrain from making irresponsible remarks.”

The world’s top health official has reportedly been censored in China after calling its zero-COVID policy unsustainable and stressing the importance of a shift in strategy.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the criticism at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Sony loses millions after rejecting China’s demand to remove Statue of Liberty from new ‘Spider-Man’ film

Spiderman sony china
  • Sony reportedly walked away from a potential $170 million-$340 million in sales after rejecting China’s request to delete scenes featuring the Statue of Liberty.
  • The China Film Administration wanted Sony and Marvel Studios to take out the American landmark, which is prominently featured during the film's action-packed third act, according to multiple sources.
  • Chinese regulators modified the request and asked for less emphasis on shots they deemed too "patriotic."
  • Sony ultimately rejected the request, resulting in Chinese authorities preventing the latest Spider-Man film from being released in the biggest film market in the world.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” was not released in China after Sony rejected a request to delete scenes that include the Statue of Liberty, a new report claims. 

In China, films are reviewed by the China Film Administration under the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to multiple sources who spoke to Puck, Chinese authorities initially wanted Sony and Marvel Studios to take out the American landmark, which is prominently featured during the film’s third act.

Texas lawmakers call for ban on ‘obscene’ books like ‘Goblin Slayer’ from school libraries

Goblin Slayer Texas school ban
  • Republican state Rep. Jared Patterson and 26 other Republicans penned a letter to school districts in Texas asking for their pledge to not buy from vendors that sell “pornography.”
  • Patterson, in his letter, specifically mentioned Maia Kobabe’s graphic novel “Gender Queer: A Memoir” as an example of the type of books that should be banned from school book collections.
  • Rep. Matt Shaheen, who signed the letter, also referenced “Goblin Slayer” in an interview, describing a scene from the series’ first episode.
  • “Both local districts and the Legislature will be working diligently on policies to prevent such books from being allowed on campus in the future,” Patterson wrote. “However, we also acknowledge school districts have a lot [of] power in the market when purchasing books and that if we stand together against explicit materials for children, book vendors will be forced to adjust.”

A group of conservative Texas legislators recently sent a letter to school district officials asking them to pledge to not buy books from vendors that sell “pornography” and to ban “obscene” books from school book collections.

The letter, penned by Republican state Rep. Jared Patterson and signed by 26 Republican state legislators, was sent out on March 2.”

Chinese news outlet accidentally posts censorship instructions on Russia-Ukraine coverage

xi putin
  • Horizon News, which operates under China’s state-owned outlet Beijing News, accidentally included censorship instructions in its Russia-Ukraine coverage on Tuesday.
  • According to the instructions, comments and reports that are deemed unfavorable to Russia or favorable to the West cannot be published.
  • The message was deleted later on, but eagle-eyed users managed to take screenshots of the instructions and share them on various online platforms.
  • As of this writing, China has yet to publicly denounce Russia for its actions against Ukraine.

A Chinese news outlet appears to have accidentally leaked its own censorship instructions in its coverage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

According to a now-deleted Weibo post, Horizon News, which operates under China’s state-owned outlet Beijing News, said that comments and reports deemed unfavorable to Russia or favorable to the West cannot be published.

Censorship of ‘Friends’ LGBTQ plus storylines causes pushback from Chinese netizens

  • China has reportedly censored LGBTQ plus storylines and references to “orgasms” from the 1994 classic sitcom “Friends” on streaming platforms, including Tencent, Youku, iQiyi and Bilibili.
  • Mentions of character Ross Geller’s ex-wife, Carol Willick, coming out as a lesbian and a scene in which other main cast members Chandler and Joey kiss on New Year’s Eve were removed from the TV show.
  • The Chinese subtitles were also changed in certain scenes referring to sex, including a reference to “multiple orgasms” which was purportedly changed to women “having endless gossips” in one scene.
  • The hashtag #FriendsCensored became the No. 1 trending topic on Weibo on Friday, with many Chinese fans expressing their disappointment; however, the hashtag was reportedly deleted the next day.

Adding to China’s list of censored films and shows, LGBTQ plus storylines and references to “orgasms” have been removed from the 1994 classic American sitcom “Friends” across streaming platforms in the country.

The sitcom was relaunched on streaming platforms in China on Friday, but many Chinese fans expressed their disappointment on Weibo after noticing that mentions of character Ross Geller’s ex-wife, Carol Willick, coming out as a lesbian was cut from the TV show.

Keanu Reeves faces backlash, boycott threats from Chinese nationalists over Tibet independence stance

keanu reeves matrix resurrections
  • Keanu Reeves is set to be part of the Tibet House US Annual Benefit Concert in March.
  • Chinese social media users who are loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) condemned Reeves’ decision to join the concert.
  • On Weibo, fans threatened to boycott Reeves’ latest “Matrix” movie and warned that it could lose the Chinese market.

Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves has earned the ire of Chinese nationalists after they found out that he will participate in the upcoming Tibet House US Annual Benefit Concert. 

“Little Pinks” – young social media users who are known for their avid support for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – have criticized Reeves and warned of a potential   boycott of his latest film, “The Matrix: Resurrections,” reported Variety

China launches effort to ‘purify’ the internet ahead of Lunar New Year celebration, Winter Games

China’s internet watchdog has launched a “purification” campaign to “clean up” Chinese social media users’ “illegal” online content as Lunar New Year and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing draw near.

The country’s cybersecurity regulator, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), revealed the regulations it will implement amid its month-long initiative on Tuesday, ranging from crackdowns on cyberbullying and online fraud to content featuring soft pornography, suicide and violence, according to Insider.

‘Fight Club’ can now be streamed in China — with an altered ending where the authorities win

fight club
  • The original ending of the classic 1999 David Fincher film “Fight Club” was altered for the streaming version in China.
  • Fans of the original were left disappointed to see the authorities win instead of the anti-consumerism narrator.

A Chinese streaming platform is airing David Fincher’s 1999 film “Fight Club” with an altered ending in which the authorities win.

Chinese fans of the classic thriller film based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name were disappointed to see the movie’s iconic ending removed and replaced with a black slate and a caption detailing an alternative ending on local video streaming website Tencent Video.