The List of Filtered Items

In The Order Of Things, Michel Foucault quoted Jorge Luis Borges who quoted a certain Chinese Encyclopaedia, which grouped "animals" as follows: 

a) animals which belong to the emperor 
b) embalmed animals 
c) tamed animals 
d) milk sows 
e) sirens 
f) fabulous beasts 
g) dogs without a master 
h) those which belong into this grouping 
i) those who behave like mad 
k) animals painted with a very fine brush of camel hair 
l) and so forth 
m) animals which have broken the water jug 
n) animals which look like flies from afar.

This definition movitivated Foucault to write the book, which he said "first arose out of a passage in Borges, out of the laughter that shattered, as I read the passage, all the familiar landmarks of thought - *our* thought, the thought that bears the stamp of our age and our geography - breaking up all the ordered surfaces and all the planes with which we are accustomed to tame the wild profusion of existing things and continuing long afterwards to disturb and threaten with collapse our age-old definitions between the Same and the Other."

Now I have no idea what this so-called Chinese Encyclopaedia could conceivably be except that it was surely someone's practical joke.  In any case, I like reading lists and trying to figure out the logic behind why the items in the list are collected together.

So it is that I read this list given at China Digital News.  Here is the background:

It is an open secret that all Chinese Internet hosting services, including wireless and instant messenger services, filter user communication through key word blocking mechanisms. But overly vague and broad Chinese internet laws and the internet police force never made the forbidden words explicit -- Not until some Chinese hackers located a document within the installation package of QQ instant messaging software. The file contains over one thousand words, most of them in Chinese, which will be blocked by the service.

Owned by Tencent, QQ is China's most popular Instant Messenger service. On a regular basis, tens of millions of users use their service. On one day, March 13 , there were more than six million users online using QQ at the same time. Because of its high traffic volume, it is technically much harder to build in the key word filtering mechanism on the server's end. Instead, Tencent sneaked in a filtering program file in their installation package at the client end. When a client installs the QQ2003 software on their own computer desktop, a program file, called COMToolKit.dll, is automatically included. This file contains all the forbidden keywords, which will be automatically blocked when the client runs QQ.

Recently, some Chinese hackers located this file and released it on the Internet. The censored key words list is commonly used not just for QQ, but also for all websites, BBS and text messaging services.

The entire list is then provided at China Digital News.  And what a fascinating list!  I could spend days just trying to classify and rationalize the system!  And there are in fact quite a few things that I don't even know! This is a wonderful way to expand my politico-cultural indoctrination.

The table below contains some quick groupings of the list items that I know (which guarantees that this page will be inaccessible in China if the filters are really working).  On the whole, I would have to say that filtering is a losing cause.  There are so many variations that can be played in the Chinese language that this static .dll file will be beaten with ease (for example, see the list of improper variations on the names of officials -- I know I have even nastier variations in mind).  The only hope is to require users sign in with their IDs, record their entire sessions and then threaten them that any transgression will be punished eventually when the new workarounds are detected and all their previous sessions will be retroactively re-examined.

Postscript: China Herald noted that this page could be read without any problem in Shanghai, while the page at China Digital News was blocked.  If true, then only URL blocking was in place (and this site was not banned whereas China Digital News was) and keyword filtering was not working.  Why is my URL not banned in China?  It ought to be because it carries quite a number of banned articles in English translation alongside their full Chinese originals which cannot be seen inside China.  This website may be too small to come to the attention of Internet Nanny and this is the way to beat the system because even the 30,000 censors cannot humanly screen out something that appears simultaneously on 1,000 out of tens of millions of small websites with billions of web pages around the world.

Post-postscript: On further thought, this list must be for used only for filtering wireless and instant messaging only.  There are some terms that are in the mainstream discourse, such as the 两会: the National People's Congress and the National Political Consultative Conference.  If these terms are used to filter web pages including official communications, the government would grind to a halt.

Obscenities bitch; sex, av; fuck; incest; shit; 行房;自慰;色狼;胸罩;内裤;底裤;私处;爽死;妹疼;妹痛;弟疼;弟痛;姐疼;姐痛;哥疼;哥痛;同房;打炮;造爱;性交;性爱;作爱;做爱;操你;日你;日批;日逼;鸡巴;我操;操死;媽個;颜射;乳房;阴茎;阳具;开苞;肛门;阴道;阴蒂;肉棍;肉棒;肉洞;荡妇;阴囊;睾丸;捅你;捅我;插我;插你;插她;插他;干你;干她;干他;妓女;射精;口交;手淫;口淫;屁眼;阴户;阴门;下体;淫穴;龟头;阴毛;避孕套;你妈逼;大鸡巴;性高潮;性虐待;吹蕭;色狼;內褲;底褲;變態;变态;色情;;卖淫;轮奸;幼齿;幼女;情妇.

For the English-only reader, here are some translated terms:
私处private part
肉棍 meat pole 
meat stick 
big dick
龟头penis tip
meat hole 
anal orifice
阴毛pubic hair
fuck you
捅你,插你thrust into you
日批,日逼fuck the cunt
,打炮sexual intercourse
造爱,做爱,作爱make love
射精 ejaculation
性高潮sexual climax
爽死experience la petite morte
性虐待sexual torture
patronize prostitutes
卖淫engage in prostitution
幼女minor female

Terms not on the list: rape, sodomy, bestiality, fisting, cunilingus, dildo, vibrator, pedophilia, penis enlargement, golden shower, bondage, sexually transmitted disease, venereal disease, syphilis, ... we report and you decide if these other terms are permitted or just not done in China.

Technical note:  The national curse phrase is  你媽個B ("Fuck your mother's cunt").  The exact phrase would be easy to ban, so the workaround includes substituting with 草操糙曹嘈槽懆襙 etc which all sound like the same cao sound and substituting B with 逼必比筆畢避閉彼辟臂鼻壁斃碧鄙幣弊妣庇婢璧彼etc.  For example, 你媽個B is rendered as 糙你媽個.  This means that the list would have to contain many combinations.  So the efficient solution is to key on the two words 媽個 ("mother's") that appear in the middle of the phrase and not worry about the header and trailer.  This means that B with substituting for should go through like a breeze.

Falun Gong falu; falun; falundafa; flg; honzi; lihongzi; minghui; minghuinews; zhenshanren; zhuanfalun; 大法;弟子;护法;真善忍;明慧;大法;洪志;红志;洪智;红智;法轮;法论;法沦;法伦;宏法;发轮;发论;发沦;发伦;轮功;轮公;轮攻;沦功;沦公;沦攻;论攻;论功;论公;伦攻;伦功;伦公;功法;发愣;发轮;发正念;法愣;法抡;法仑;法伦;法轮;法论;法十轮十功;法十轮十功;法谪;法谪功;自焚;师父;弟子;抡功;伦功;轮大;轮功;护法;护法;李长春;李大师;李红痔;李宏志;李洪宽;李老师;升天;神通加持法;修炼
朱镕基; insulting variations:朱容基;朱溶剂;猪聋畸;朱毛;猪毛
江泽民; insulting variations: 江八点;江流氓;江则民;江贼民;江折民;江贼;江猪;僵贼;僵贼民;江猪媳;酱猪媳;将则民;老江
胡锦涛: insulting variations: 胡紧掏;胡锦滔;胡锦淘;胡景涛
李鹏: insulting variations:李小朋;李小鹏;李月月鸟.
Mao Zedong is permitted but not the insulting variations: 毛厕洞;毛贼东;老毛

For the English-only reader, here are some literal translations:
江猪媳 'Chairman Jiang' is rendered as 'Pig Daughter-In-Law Jiang'
酱猪媳 'Chairman Jiang' is rendered as 'Soy-sauce Marinated Pig Daughter-In-Law'
僵贼民'Jiang Zemin' is rendered as 'Stiff Rogue Person'
猪聋畸 'Zhu Rongji' is rendered as 'Deaf and Deformed Pig'
毛厕洞 'Mao Zedong' is rendered as 'Mao Shithouse Hole'
李月月鸟'Li Peng' has the ideogram for Peng broken up into its three component characters: Moon, Moon, Bird.

Cultural exchange: In the United States, it is sufficient to simply say "Bush" to insult the president because the term refers to a clump of pubic hair.  Per Molly Ivins' book titled Shrub : The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, some people refer to the president as "Shrub" instead as a sign of his dim-wit.  During the Republic National Convention, the bestselling slogan on the streets of New York City is: "No Bush, No Dick" where Dick refers to Vice President Dick Cheney as well as to a penis.

Political system: freedom;三个代表;一党;多党;接班;民主;自由;专政;打倒;大盖帽;革命;共产;首长;书记;人大;文字狱;专制;暴政;独裁;独裁政治;北京当局;持不同政见;主义;赤匪;赤化;反人类;反社会;粉饰太平;个人崇拜;国家安全;国家机密;红色恐怖;悔过书;建国党;禁看;劳改;劳教;抗议;游行;陆委会;两会;全国两会;两会报道;两会新闻;民意;舆论;舆论反制;人权;迫害;文革;五不;洗脑;新闻封锁;信用危机;高薪养廉;歌功颂德;泡沫经济;新闻封锁;学潮;上海帮.
For the English-only readers, here are some translated terms: 民主democracy; 自由liberty;民意popular opinion;专制dictatorship;文革Cultural Revolution;持不同政见political dissidence;国家机密national secret;洗脑brainwash;迫害persecution;劳改labor reform;抗议protest;游行demonstration march;信用危机confidence crisis; 打倒 down with; 反社会 anti-social; 红色恐怖, red terror; 赤匪 red bandits.

Corruption: 走私;公款;腐败;弹劾;高官;高干;高干子弟;高干子女;太子党.
For the English-only readers, here are some translated terms:
高官 high official; 高干 high-level cadre; 高干子弟 high-level cadres' children; 腐败 corrupt; 公款 public money; 走私 smuggling.

Law Enforcement: 警察;民警;公安;武警;交警;刑警;司法警官;消防队;黑社会;闹事;暴动;暴乱;动乱;空难;红灯区;夜总会.
For the English-only readers, here are some translated terms:警察police;交警traffic police;消防队 fire brigade; 黑社会organized crime;闹事create trouble;暴动riot;空难air disaster;红灯区redlight district;夜总会nightclub.

Tienanmen Square Incident: 民主墙;天安门;天安门录影带;天安门事件;天安门屠杀;天安门一代;六四;八九;王丹;柴玲;吾尔开希;流亡;屠杀.
For the English-only readers, here are some translated terms:
民主墙 Democracy Wall; 天安门 Tienanmen Square; 天安门录影带 The Tienanmen Square videotape; 天安门屠杀 The Tienanmen Square massacre; 六四 June 4; 八九 89; 王丹 Wang Dan; 柴玲 Chai Ling; 吾尔开希 Wuer Kaixi; 流亡 exile.

Taiwan: dpp; taip; 中华民国;台独;台盟;台湾独立;臺灣獨立;台湾狗;台湾建国运动组织;台湾青年独立联盟;反攻;反共;共匪;共狗;国军;两个中国;一中一台;两岸关系;水扁;吕秀莲;登辉;李总统;谢选骏; 民国;民联;亲美;青天白日旗;双十节;卖国
For the English-only readers, here are some translated terms: 台独 Taiwan independence; 台湾狗 Taiwan pig; 两个中国 Two Chinas; 水扁 Shui-bian; 吕秀莲 Annette Lui; 登辉 Teng-hui; 李总统 President Lee; 双十节 Double Ten festival; 亲美 pro-American.
Tibet: tibetalk;ustibet;西藏;藏独;西藏独立;达赖
Xinjiang: 疆独;新疆独立;回民暴动

boxun; chinaliberal; chinamz; chinesenewsnet; cnd; dajiyuan; freechina; hrichina; peacehall; playboy; reminbao; renmingbao; rfa; svdc; voa; voachinese;xinsheng; 北大三角地论坛;北京之春;北美自由论坛;春夏自由论坛;大紀元;大纪园;大纪元新闻网;大家论坛;大史;大史记;大史纪;大中国论坛;大中华论坛;大众真人真事地下刊物;东方时空;东方红时空;东南西北论谈;多维;反腐败论坛;飞扬论坛;风雨神州;开放杂志;看中国;风雨神州论坛;华通时事论坛;华夏文摘;华语世界论坛;华岳时事论坛;鸡毛信文汇;廉政大论坛;两岸三地论坛;龙虎豹;木子论坛;你说我说论坛;轻舟快讯;热比娅;热站政论网;人民报;人民真实;人民之声论坛;时代论坛;时事论坛;世界经济导报;台湾政论区;统独论坛;外交论坛;万维读者论坛;无界浏览器;新观察论坛;新华举报;新华内情;新华通论坛;新生网;争鸣论坛;正见网|;正义党论坛;中国复兴论坛;中国社会论坛;中国问题论坛;中华时事;钟山风雨论坛;自由民主论坛;数据中国;世纪中国基金会;反封锁技术.
This is a list of items that are not banned in official media.  In fact, they are the pillars of the system.  Why should the mention of these items be banned in IM?  Because there is no guarantee towards which direction a discussion may head, so it is better to ban all discourse as a precaution.  This is where the absurdity of the censorship becomes most obvious, and it must be distressing to even and especially the true believers of the system.

三个代表 "Three represents", a political theory advocated by Jiang Zemin who said: "the Party must always represent the requirements of the development of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China."  The media expounds on the theory, but the people can't talk about it or even praise it because of the possibility that someone might criticize it. 

两会 The National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.  The events are covered by all the media, except the people can't talk about it or even praise it because someone else just might criticize it.

公安 Public security.  No, if a crime occurs such as a 走私 (smuggling) case, you can't even advise someone to call the police immediately.  That's because they couldn't tell that legitimate situation (good) from someone else criticizing the police (bad).

消防队 Fire brigade.  If you see a fire, you can't send a message for the fire brigade just in case you might be criticizing them.

真相 The truth.  You are not permitted to talk about the truth about anything, just in case your idea of the truth is not politically correct in accordance with the current line.  [Note:  This may also be a reference to the series of books published by Mirror Books]

江澤民;李鹏;胡锦涛;温家宝;鄧小平Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Hu Jintao, Wen Jiaobao and Deng Xiaoping are not to be invoked, just in case their names are used in vain.  You can't even praise them.

中俄边界 The Sino-Russian border does not exist.

西藏 Tibet does not exist.

中国孤儿院;上海孤儿院  The Chinese Orphanage and the Shanghai Orphanage do not exist.

天安门 Tienanmen Square.  This is the most famous street block in China.  Sorry, you can't even tell anyone about your pilgrimage there to watch the flag-raising ceremony at dawn.  This is a tacit acknowledgement that the place is indebily linked to that event on June 4th, 1989.

在十月 Nothing ever takes place in the month of October.

On that last item, imagine the following IM exchange:
  P1:When is your baby due?
  P2:In October.[filtered]
  P1:Please reply?
  P2:I just did.
  P1:No, I didn't get a reply. Please re-send.
  P2:In October.[filtered]
  P1:Please reply?
  P2:I just re-sent it.
  P1:Fuck his mother's cunt! It must be Internet Nanny![filtered]

(SCMP via Asia Pacific Media Network)  Web users get their ten cents worth despite the censors.  By Andy Greenberg.  October 5, 2004.

Comedian George Carlin had seven dirty words you were not allowed to say on television. Tencent, maker of the popular instant messaging programme QQ, has more than 1,000 it does not want broadcast in cyberspace.

Last month, a group of hackers uncovered a file buried within the operating instructions of QQ 2003. The file contains a list of words likely to rile government officials.

About 20 per cent deal with sexual jargon too rude to print in a family newspaper. For Chinese-language students looking to expand their vocabulary of naughty words, this .dll file is a good place to start. (Users of QQ 2003 should search for a document called COMtoolkit.dll. Newer versions of QQ's program lack the file).

The remainder of the list deals with politically touchy subjects. In the file, not surprisingly, are topics such as Falun Gong, the Tiananmen Square massacre and the independence movements in Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet.

But the file also hints at concerns about the Web being used to spread ultra-nationalism, with references to the Sino-Russian border and territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.

Many of the words are general, such as "truth" and "idea", suggesting philosophical discussion is off-limits. Other words include references to official corruption and the cases of political prisoners.

Why some phrases appear on the list - "in October", "spring in Beijing", "toad" and "North Korea" - are a complete mystery. [Blogger's note: "Spring in Beijing" is a overseas Chinese-language pro-democracy magazine; see].

What is also not clear is how the .dll file works. It does not appear to block words from instant messages, suggesting its purpose is to alert officials to the discussion of sensitive topics.

Mainland internet users are aware of what critics have dubbed The Great Firewall of China, leading to the creation of new spellings for names and terms to bypass the censors.

The artfully insulting homonyms include spelling former premier Zhu Rongji's name so that it reads deaf and deformed pig. Chairman Jiang becomes soy sauce marinated pig daughter-in-law, while Mao Zedong's moniker is transformed into a vivid description of a toilet.

As the censors catch on, internet users are forced to come up with ever more inventive spellings.

Head of Human Rights in China Xiao Qiang said: "There are constantly new subjects and topics being banned by the government and [internet] users need to come up with new key words or phrases for these topics."

But despite the best efforts of Tencent, which did not respond to requests for comments, and other companies which aid government efforts to control discourse, Mr Xiao believed the internet had set China on a course from which it could not turn back.

"While the overall censorship is still effective, the Net has already created a bottom-up force and is constantly negotiating this new space with the old style, top-down censorship and propaganda regime," he said. "The transformative effect of the internet has already set China on an irreversible course towards greater openness and public participation in social and political life."

(Washington Post)  Keywords Used to Filter Web Content.  February 18, 2006.

The Washington Post obtained a list of keywords used by a Chinese blog service provider to flag offensive material. Of 236 items on the list, 18 were obscenities. The rest were related to politics or current affairs.

Most words on this list can be posted on Chinese Web sites, but their presence quietly alerts editors to examine the messages that contain them and possibly take action. In tests, postings that included long sections of the list were allowed to remain on several sites, but quickly removed from others. One site also blocked the computer used to conduct the tests from posting anything else.

In addition, on most sites, at least some of the sensitive phrases cannot be posted at all. Depending on the site, filters replace the offending words with asterisks or block the entire message.

Below is the list. Obscenities have been withheld.

Names of People

Bao Tong

Chen Yonglin

Cui Yingjie

Ding Jiaban

Du Zhaoyong

Gao Jingyun

Gao Zhisheng

He Jiadong

He Weifang

Hu Xingdou

Hu Yuehua

Hua Guofeng

Huang Jingao

Jiang Mianheng

Jiang Yanyong

Jiang Zemin

Jiao Guobiao

Jin Zhong

Li Zhiying

Liang Yuncai

Liu Jianfeng

Liu Junning

Liu Xiabo

Nie Shubin

Nie Shubin (repeated)

Sun Dawu

Wang Binyu

Wang Lixiong

Xu Zhiyong

Yang Bin

Yang Dongping

Yu Jie

Zhang Weiying

Zhang Xingshu

Zhang Zuhua

Zhao Yan

Zhou Qing

Zhu Chenghu

Zhu Wenhu

Zi Yang (in English)

Ziyang (in Chinese)

Ziyang (in English)

zzy (in English, abbreviation for Zhao Ziyang)

Chinese Politics

17th party congress


Beat the Central Propaganda Department

Blast the Central Propaganda Department

Block the road and demand back pay

Chief of the Finance Bureau

Children of high officials

China liberal (in English)

Chinese Communist high officials

Denounce the Central Propaganda Department

Down with the Central Propaganda Department


Lin Zhao Memorial Award

Patriots Alliance

Patriots Alliance (abbreviated)

Patriots Alliance Web

Police chase after and kill police

Pollution lawsuit

Procedures for dismissing an official

Red Terror

Set fires to force people to relocate

Sons of high officials

The Central Propaganda Department is the AIDS of Chinese society

Villagers fight with weapons

Wang Anshi's reform and the fall of the Northern Song dynasty

Specific Issues and Events

Buy corpses

Cadres transferred from the military


Cat abuse

Changxin Coal Mountain

China Youth Daily staff evaluation system

Chinese orphanage

Chinese Yangshen Yizhi Gong

Demobilized soldiers transferred to other industries



Fetus soup

Foot and mouth disease

Fuzhou pig case

Gaoxin Hospital

High-speed train petition

Hire a killer to murder one's wife

Honghai Bay


Jinxin Pharmaceutical


Linyi family planning

Market access system


Military wages

No Friendlies

Prosecutor committed suicide

Pubu Ravine

Shanwei government

Suicide of deputy mayor

Suicide of Kuerle mayor

Swiss University of Finance

Taishi village

Top ten worst cities



Zhang Chunxian welcomes supervision against corruption

Falun Gong

Terms related to the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, including phrases from its "Nine Commentaries" manifesto against the Communist Party:

Chinese Communist Party brutally kills people

dajiyuan (in English)

Defy the heavens, earth and nature. Mao Zedong

Epoch Times

Epoch Times (written with a different character)

Epoch Times news Web site

Evaluate the Chinese Communist Party

Evaluate the Chinese Communist Party (abbreviated)

falundafa (in English)

flg (in English)

Fozhan Qianshou Fa

Guantong Liangji Fa

In the Chinese Communist Party, common standards of humanity don't exist

Li Hongzhi

lihongzhi (in English)

Master Li

minghui (in English)

Mother and daughter accused each other, and students and teachers became enemies

New Tynasty TV Station

Nine Commentaries

No. 1 evil cult in the world

Obedient citizens under its brutal rule

People become brutal in violence, Chinese Communist Party

People developed a concept of the Chinese Communist Party, but

People who could escape have escaped, and had people to seek refuge with

Quit the party

Run the opposite direction of the so-called ideals of Communism

Shenzhou Jiachifa

Spring Festival Gala of the World's Chinese

Steal people's painstaking work

Truth, Compassion, Tolerance

Zhenshanren (in English)

Overseas Web Sites, Publications and Dissident Groups

Century China Foundation

China Issues Forum

China Renaissance Forum

China Society Forum

China Spring

Chinese Current Affairs

Chinese World Forum

EastSouthWestNorth Forum

EastWestSouthNorth Forum

Forum of Wind, Rain and the Divine Land

Freedom and Democracy Forum

Freedom to Write Award

Great China Forum

Han Style

Huatong Current Affairs Forum

Huaxia Digest

Huayue Current Affairs Forum

Independent Chinese PEN Center

Jimaoxin Collection

Justice Party Forum

New Birth Web

New Observer Forum

North American Freedom Forum

reminbao (In English)

remingbao (In English)

Small Reference

Spring and Summer Forum

Voice of the People Forum

Worldwide Reader Forum

You Say I Say Forum

Zhengming Forum

Zhidian Jiangshan Forum

Zhongshan Wind and Rain Forum


Establish Taiwan Country Movement Organization

Great President Chen Shui-bian

Independent League of Taiwan Youth

Independent Taiwan Association

New Party

Taiwan Freedom League

Taiwan Political Discussion Zone

Ethnic Minorities

East Turkestan

East Turkestan (abbreviated)

Han-Hui conflicts

Henan Zhongmu

Hui rebellion

Hui village

Langcheng Gang

Nancheng Gang

Nanren Village

Tibet independence

Xinjiang independence

Zhongmu County

Tiananmen Square

Memoirs of June 4 participants

Redress June 4

Tiananmen videotape

Tiananmen incident

Tiananmen massacre

Tiananmen generation

World Economic Herald


Cleaning and rectifying Web sites

China's true content

Internet commentator

News blockade



North Korea falls out with China

Paris riots






Handmade pistol

Nuclear bomb


Chinese People Tell the Truth

Chinese People Justice and Evil

China Social Progressive Party

Chinese Truth Report

Dazhong Zhenren Zhenshi


Night talk of the Forbidden City

People's Inside Information and Truth