Citizens in a Chinese city are venting their dissatisfaction with the regime online recently, but surprisingly censorship does not appear to be catching up.

As China Digital Times reports, under the hashtag Guangzhou Pandemic Prevention and Control , comments cursing the local authority are lingering on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform without any repercussions. 

The languages are carefully cultured. Such as this user who writes what in English would mean, “I did a PCR test at 10 p.m. last night, and only got results this afternoon. ***, based on these policies, there’s no way to go out if an emergency arises. The *** *** are really messing *** around.”

China is at the top regarding internet freedom for its extensive and sophisticated censorship system. But comments like these easily escape the internet watchdog because they are written in Cantonese. 

Cantonese is the preferred spoken language in Guangdong province, whereas Mandarin is the official spoken language throughout Mainland China. 

China Digital Times notes that authorities would have censored similar criticisms if they were written in Mandarin, suggesting that Weibo’s censorship mechanisms are not trained to recognize Cantonese writing or spelling. The language is now the third most commonly spoken form of Chinese, with an estimated 60 million speakers globally.

According to the publication, some said they were envious as the unofficial Chinese language allows people to speak their opinions freely on the internet—some labeled Cantonese the contemporary encrypted text. 

Guangzhou , a city of Guangdong, had been heightening pandemic restrictions since late August. But as cases have declined, the city said on September 5th that it was looking forward to reopening soon.

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