The People’s Republic of China is a major force on the internet. Their cyber warriors hack American companies, American newspapers, and American weather satellites. When not hacking America, China’s cyber warriors have an impressive record of censorship at home, stretching back at least two decades. China is so good at online censorship, their internet security has been dubbed the “Great Firewall of China.” And rather than hide this glaring contradiction of the internet’s original promise of freely flowing information, China has written a song praising its cyber-censors. No, really.
Earlier today, a state-run Chinese news site posted the lyrics to “Cyberspace Spirit,” a song honoring China’s cyberspace administration. There are a couple different English-language translations online. One, posted at the Wall Street Journal and originally made by China Real Time, phrases the chorus:
The New York Times translation of the same verse is modestly different:
Neither are particularly subtle, and in the China Real Time translation, the last line of the chorus is telling: one self represents the world’s most populous country. And that self is carefully curated by an army of online censors.