SHANGHAI — If you were driving in China recently, you might have gotten in trouble had you tried honking your car horn like this:
上海——如果你最近在中国开车,像这样鸣汽车喇叭,你可能就有麻烦了:
Beep.
嘀。
(Pause.)
(停顿。)
Beep, beep.
嘀嘀。
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The pattern is a secret code of sorts for loyal users of two Chinese social media apps to identify themselves. Honk the signal while idling at a red light, and if you hear it in response, then you know a fellow fan is near.
这种鸣笛方式,是中国两大社交媒体应用的忠实用户相互亮明身份的暗号。在无聊地等待红灯时,如果鸣了暗号还能听到相同的回应,就能知道附近还有另一个粉丝。
This week, though, China’s top media regulator closed one of those apps. Officially, the app, Neihan Duanzi, was shut down for hosting “vulgar” jokes and videos. But it and another app, Douyin, which helps users make goofy music videos, have brought together legions of fans who make themselves known to one another in the real world.
但在本周,中国最高媒体监管机构关停了其中一个应用。内涵段子由于存在“低俗”笑话和视频被正式关停。但这款应用,以及帮助用户制作滑稽音乐视频的另一个应用——抖音,已经在现实世界里聚集起了众多相互认识的粉丝。
That has led some to wonder whether the platform’s tightknit user community, with its own subculture and obscure vocabulary, had angered the authorities. China’s ruling Communist Party has a history of cracking down on groups that seek to organize citizens outside its sphere of control.
这不禁引人发问,该平台拥有自己亚文化和隐晦用语的紧密用户群,是否已经激怒了当局。作为执政党的共产党历来都会镇压那些在自己管控范围之外试图将公民组织起来的群体。
Users of both apps put decals with the apps’ names on their car windows. They hold meet-ups where they chant invented slogans — “Sky king covers earth tiger, stewed chicken with mushrooms!” one goes — and do things like arrange their cars to spell the name of their city.
两款应用的用户会在自己的车窗上张贴印有应用名称的车膜。他们会举行集会,呼喊编造的口号——有一句是“天王盖地虎,小鸡炖蘑菇”。他们还会做一些比如用自己的汽车摆出城市名称这样的事。
They also honk rhythmically at crowded intersections, prompting rebukes from the police in several Chinese cities recently.
他们也会在拥挤的十字路口有节奏地鸣笛,近来已在中国的几个城市引来了警方的斥责
No ideology appears to link the apps’ fans, although their online videos suggest that sports cars and community service are common enthusiasms.
这些应用的粉丝似乎并没有意识形态的联系,不过他们的网络视频显示出了他们对跑车和社区服务有着共同爱好。
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In one clip, a column of cars parades down an empty highway, headlights flashing.
在一个视频片段中,一列车队顺着空荡荡的高速公路游行,闪烁着车前灯。
In another, a bronze sports car drifts and does doughnuts at an abandoned intersection.
另一个视频里,一辆古铜色的跑车在某个废弃的十字路口做着漂移和原地回旋。
One popular Chinese variety show this year also chronicled some of the good acts done by the fans. In China’s sparsely populated west, one group pitched in to help the elderly and entertain children. On Chinese social media, enthusiasts from other parts of the country posted photos after donating blood and sending secondhand goods to remote schools.
今年,中国的一个热门综艺节目还记录了这些粉丝的一些善举。在中国人口稀少的西部地区,一个团体投身于帮扶老人并为孩子送去欢乐的活动。中国的社交媒体上,全国各地的热心人发布着献血之后或是为偏远学校送去二手物品的照片。
China has undergone dizzying social change over the past decades. The internet has become a place for many people to seek out personal connections and community.
在过去的几十年中,中国经历了令人眩晕的社会变革。互联网已经成为了许多人寻求人际关系和社群团体的场所。
“I’m truly sad. My friend and I both cried while talking about it,” Liu Wei, 23, an aspiring R&B composer in Shanghai, said of Duanzi’s closing. He had been a user of the app for more than five years.
“真的很难过。我和我的朋友聊着聊着就哭了,”23岁的刘伟(音)在谈到内涵段子关停时说。他在上海生活,想成为一名R&B作曲家,这款应用他已经用了有五年多。
“So many years of love,” Mr. Liu said. “It’s like I lost a brother.”
“这么多年的感情,”刘伟说。“像是一个兄弟走了一样。”
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Bytedance, the company behind both Duanzi and Douyin, has become one of the most highly valued technology start-ups in the world. But it has to manage the material on its platforms carefully in order to stay on the right side of China’s censors. Two more of the company’s popular platforms have been pulled from app stores in the past week.
内涵段子和抖音背后的公司——字节跳动,已经成为了全球最具价值的科技创业公司之一。但是要符合中国的审查规范,它必须谨慎管理平台内容。上周,该公司的另外两个热门平台也被从应用商店下架
Zhang Yiming, Bytedance’s founder and chief executive, apologized in a statement for failing to adequately police content, and for the company’s failure to respect “core socialist values.”
在一则声明中,字节跳动的创始人兼首席执行官张一鸣做出了道歉,表示公司没有对内容进行有效监管,未能遵守“社会主义核心价值观”。
“As a start-up developing rapidly in the wake of the 18th National Congress, we understand deeply that our rapid development was an opportunity afforded to us by this great era,” Mr. Zhang wrote, referring to the 2012 Communist Party confab at which President Xi Jinping took office.
“我们作为一家十八大后快速发展起来的创业公司,深知公司的快速发展,是伟大时代给的机会,”张一鸣写道,他提到的十八大是2012年习近平上台的那一届党代会。
“I thank this era,” Mr. Zhang wrote. “I thank the historic opportunity of China’s economic reform and opening-up. I thank the support the government has given to the technology industry’s development.”
“我感恩这个时代,”张一鸣写道。“感恩改革开放历史机遇,感恩国家对于科技产业发展的扶持。”
China’s highest media regulator, the State Administration of Radio and Television, did not respond to a faxed request for comment about whether Duanzi’s fans were a factor in the app being shut down.
至于内涵段子的粉丝是否属于应用关停的因素之一,中国最高媒体监管机构国家广播电视总局并未回应时报通过传真发出的置评请求。
But in recent days, the authorities in China have instructed news outlets to suppress information about fan gatherings, according to censorship orders reviewed by The New York Times. Any mention of “revolt” in connection with Duanzi fans has been ordered scrubbed. Outlets have also been told to censor photos, videos and articles attacking the media regulator or calling for protests.
但根据纽约时报查阅到的审查命令,中国当局近日已作出指示,要求新闻媒体封锁有关粉丝集会的消息。但凡提及与内涵段子的粉丝有关的“反抗”都会被勒令清理。媒体也被告知,要对攻击媒体监管机构或是呼吁抗议活动的照片、视频和文章进行审查。
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“It’s almost like there’s a war on humor and fun,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, a Hong Kong-based adviser at Amnesty International. “And the only things that are allowed are the things that fit into the official propaganda messages: the ‘China Dream,’ the ‘Belt and Road.’ It has to be connected to what the party wants people to be concerned about.”
“这简直就像是对幽默和乐趣宣战,”身在香港的国际特赦组织(Amnesty International)顾问罗助华(Joshua Rosenzweig)说。“唯一允许的就是符合官方宣传信息的事:‘中国梦’和‘一带一路’。必须是有关党希望人们关注的事。”
Internet crackdowns are nothing new in China. But the latest seems more specifically aimed at making sure there is not too much online that might vie with the government’s messaging for people’s attention, Mr. Rosenzweig said.
网络镇压在中国并不新鲜。但罗助华表示,最近的这次似乎有着更加明确的目标,要确保网上不会有太多东西抢走人们对政府消息的关注。
“They want to do more, I think, to proactively shape people’s thinking through the media,” he said, “and they can’t have this kind of competition.”
“我觉得,他们想要做更多的事情来通过媒体主动塑造人们的思想,”他说,“他们不许有这样的竞争。”