University BBS Explodes With Snark


The news about the clampdown on university BBSes, first mentioned on Danwei over the weekend, has made it to the Washington Post, which is running an article today that gives a good overview of what's been happening. The announcement of the block angered students across the country, and inspired pessimism along the lines of the image at left, which reads "Shui-Mu Qinghua BBS: 1995-2005", or of this ASCII (text) art image from the Telnet interface to the Qinghua BBS: an ASCII rendition of the west gate of QInghua University, replete with lanterns appropriate to a funeral, and a question between the arches: "Qinghua University -- Who's Welcome Here Anymore?"

Other, cheekier students on the BBS in question - "Shui-Mu Qinghua," abbreviated, in accordance with the heretical non-Pinyin romanization of the university's name as 'Tsinghua,' as "SMTH" - have taken to using Chairman Mao quotations to title their posts. Some of the quotes are topical: one angry student put up a post, with the title "Chairman Mao Said it Himself!," reminding other students of the well-known phrase "It is right to rebel." Other posts' title-content relationships are less clear; one post entitled "Serve the People With All Your Heart and Soul" is nothing more than a question about dry-cleaning.

More and more BBS contributors have joined in the fun, although not all of them are equally equipped: a good number of the posts are requests for websites containing the good Chairman's quotations, and one post, entitled "Guys, your books are out of date," asks "Who even has a copy of the Quotations anymore?" Other contributors, upon having their posts deleted by BBS administrators, grumble about "those darn reactionary sysadmins." Contributors still seem to be having fun - as can be seen at right in another ASCII-art login screen from SMTH. It depicts Chinese NBA superstar Yao Ming against a Chinese flag, and the reminder to readers that "You Can Block IP[s], BUT Can't Block the Love of the Game."

Further links:

'RIP Shui-Mu Qinghua BBS' - the original post.

SMTH (Shui-Mu Tsinghua)-related blog posts on Technorati.

An Open Letter to All SMTH Users (Chinese) - the original letter from SMTH system administrators to BBS users about the upcoming policy changes.

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