What A Beautiful Jasmine Flower

Posted on May 13, 2011

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I heard on PRI this morning that the website for the Chinese Jasmine movement has been hacked and the organizers of the website are requesting Google to investigate into this matter.

Media outside China also reported that the Chinese government has been monitoring carefully the sales of jasmine flowers in China (I’m not kidding you) (ABC, NYT) and doing other good things like canceling the international Jasmine Cultural Festival in South China this summer (The Scotsman).

Curious about Chinese netizens’ reaction to this, I went onto Sina Microblog, typed in “molihua,” the Chinese word for “jasmine flower,” in the search engine, and waited. A few seconds later, a screen appeared. On top of it were the thumbnails of a few microblog users whose names had “jasmine” in them. Below them was a line that read “According to related laws, regulations, and policies, the search results are not shown.”

I tried clicking on a few user profiles listed, the first two didn’t look like having anything to do with the jasmine movement. Then the third came up, 又见茉莉花时 (Time When I See Jasmines Again). The short intro to the profile read “To the world you may be just one person. To one person you may be the world.” The microblogs posed included snips of news in Libya, stories of corrupted officials, and social issues. And I knew.

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