Seriously joking to vault the Great Firewall

By the Middle Ages, the court jester was a familiar figure. He was licensed to tell truth to power: he regularly insulted the monarch , mentioned the unmentionable and gave voice to the thoughts others dared not utter. A few bold netizens in China are using humor to disguise their criticism of the regime. They mock the abuse of power with comic subterfuge. Unlike the European jesters, however, they have no immunity. They skirt a fuzzy line whose limits are known only to the censors, despite knowing that crossing it will lead to silence and disappearance. Jokes, says blogger Wen Yun Chao, “chip away at the so-called authority of an authoritarian regime.”

In this animation by Pi San, the bunnies are a greeting card representation of the Year of the Rabbit. They come to represent the people oppressed by the rule of the tigers. The indignities they suffer, like babies dying from poison in their milk, refer to real events.

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