China Ups Ante in World Censorship Olympics

BEIJING—The World Censorship Olympics are heating up. Finalists Iran, Australia and China are in a fierce fight to see which one can claim the gold medal for suppression of expression, with the Chinese taking a slight lead Friday with the news that 16,000 more adult websites have been shuttered.

“Statistics from the International Communication Office of the CPC Central Committee reveal that since the crackdown was launched last December, more than 850,000 pictures and 1.3 million messages with lewd or pornographic content have been deleted,” reports the Economic Times. “Over 30 online novels and 15 mobile phone games have also been halted.”

Providing that sort of detailed data definitely impresses the judges and adds to China’s lead in a race that shows no signs of letting up. Though the Persians and Aussies have a lot to learn from their fellow totalitarians to the East (or West) in terms of documenting their oppression, Iran, in permanently banning Gmail, added much needed points to its total after falling behind when it went with physical intimidation (beatings, torture, murder) rather than technological. But it looks like the regime has finally realized that both are necessary if they want to win the gold as the government most likely to return mankind to the Dark Ages.

But don’t count the censors Down Under out just yet. In making the brilliant decision to ban depictions of small female breasts and female ejaculation, the fanatics in Brisbane (or wherever the hell they are) have taken outlawed speech to a level even Mao would have applauded. That's quite an acheivement for the former Western democracy racing to catch up with governments already so adept as snuffing out speech.

The games are far from over, however, which means the race to extinguish the unfettered freedom of ideas should provide many more innovative surprises as the competition continues. And of course, one of these countries could still overplay its hand and actually instigate a full-blown revolution or civil war—disqualifying itself from the Censorship Olympics—but it’s been a few years since we’ve seen that happen. Though such a scenario is almost impossible to imagine in Australia, it looks as though China and Iran have learned to modulate the physical and technological repression to find a really nice balance that is sure to impress the judges.

Stay tuned, apocalypse lovers! The games have only really just begun.