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2016: Oct-Dec

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Update: No comment...

China bans people from posting their own social media videos about current affairs

Link Here23rd December 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China has banned its internet users from sharing on the social media videos about current events that are not from official sources, media reports said.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (China), in a notice, said Chinese social media platforms WeChat and Weibo were not allowed to disseminate user-generated audio or video programmes about current events.

The news landed quietly among China's internet users, with only a handful discussing the new rules on Weibo, many seemingly resigned to ever increasing censorship.



Maybe not such a good idea to scare the driver behind...

Thailand bans ghostly car window stickers

Link Here 20th December 2016
Thailand's Land Transport Department has warned of a 2,000 baht fine for motor vehicles installed with ghost stickers at the back windows or rear bumpers

The warning came after the reflective creepy stickers of ghosts were posted on the social media and were widely shared.

Although the ghost stickers were not widely seen in the country, but in China, the action by the department was seen as timely and served as a preventive measure in case they are imported and used by motorists.

According to the director-general of the department, Sanit Phromwong, the ghost stickers could confuse motorists and disturb concentration while driving.



Offsite Article Blurred thinking...

Link Here20th December 2016
Trans performer blurred out on Indonesian TV plus several other examples of inane TV censorship

See article from



Offsite Article: Wallowing in praise...

Link Here18th December 2016
A happy censor describes life in New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification. Perhaps someone cut out the critical bits.

See article from



Update: Censorship by decree...

Thailand's military junta extends mass snooping and internet censorship in new law

Link Here16th December 2016
Thailand's rubber-stamp parliament has unanimously passed a new cyber-crime law that  strengthens the junta's ability to police the web and repress criticism.

The junta has banned protests, muzzled the press, blocked scores of websites and used already stringent cyber and defamation laws to prosecute critics over everything from Facebook comments to investigative reports on rights abuses.

The new law is even more vaguely-worded than its predecessor, broadening the scope of the government's surveillance and censorship powers. It allots up to five years in prison for entering false information into a computer system that jeopardises national security, public safety, national economic stability or public infrastructure, or causes panic .

One of the most controversial additions is the creation of a five-person committee that can seek court approval to remove online content considered a breach of public morals . The definition (of this term) is not written in any law, it is just up to the committee.

Another new clause empowers authorities to request user and traffic data from internet service providers without a court warrant.



Update: Not as many as the BBFC will soon block in the UK...

Malaysian internet censors block about 5000 websites

Link Here15th December 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked 5,044 websites for various offences under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 since 2015 until October this year.

Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari said, out of the total, 4,277 are pornographic websites while another 767 displayed elements of gambling, prostitution, fraud, piracy, counterfeit products, unregistered medicine and others. He added:

MCMC blocks all the websites based on the application of the enforcement agencies such as the police, Health Ministry, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and other relevant agencies.

Until last October, MCMC also blocked 72 websites related to the spread of Daesh or Islamic State ideology.

MCMC had also investigated 181 cases of social media and Internet abuse involving the spread of false information and contents through the WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter plaform and so forth under the same Act. Jailani said, out of the total, six cases were brought to court, including five cases that were prosecuted while 10 cases were compounded.



The 'wrong' sort of depictions of sexual violence...

New Zealand film censors find that main 'harms' of depiction of sexual violence seem to be the perpetuation of stereotypes

Link Here30th November 2016
New Zealand film censors of the Office of Film and Literature Classification have been commissioning research on the topic of the depiction of sexual violence in entertainment media. The censors have presented their report framed in the jargon of political correctness as follows:

Teenagers think that inaccurate depictions or misrepresentations of sexual violence in entertainment media are potentially harmful. Harms identified included normalisation, perpetuation of harmful stereotypes, negative impacts on victim/survivors, and being negatively influenced by behaviour seen on screen.

These are some of the findings detailed in Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence, the latest research report from the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

Given that there is real concern in New Zealand about sexual violence in wider society, it is perhaps surprising that to-date there had been no New Zealand research asking young people about their views of sexual violence in entertainment media such as movies, TV shows and games.

The report is based on focus groups conducted with teenagers from Auckland and Wellington, undertaken by Colmar Brunton. It represents the first part of a research and consultation project exploring the effects -- particularly on young people -- of viewing sexual violence in entertainment media. The project also explores the impact on the wider community, and builds on international research showing that repeated exposure to violent entertainment content can have significant negative effects on young people.

Project leader Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana says that the findings will inform the classification of sexual violence depictions in New Zealand:

We hope the results of our own research translate into meaningful policy and action to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly in how they engage with entertainment media. We also hope the results encourage future (much needed) research on this subject both nationally and internationally.

The results so far suggest that it is not a question of if depictions of sexual violence are shaping young people's understandings of sexual violence, but how they are shaping young people's understandings.

Chief Censor Andrew Jack says some of the findings are hardly surprising:

We know that the development of children and young people is heavily influenced by their environment and the modern reality is that media is a large part of their environment.

The research shows that young people want more and better information rather than less when making viewing choices.

The wider project involves specialists in the field of sexual violence prevention, treatment and education (including front-line victim/survivor counsellors) and academics and officials with expertise in sexual violence. Preliminary findings reveal a high degree of concern about the nature of entertainment content being made available in New Zealand, and participants agreed that young people's unfettered access to material was a pressing issue in the provision of their services. A full report on these consultations will be published in due course.



Banned and restricted...

New Zealand film censor publishes its 2016 Annual Report

Link Here20th November 2016
Full story: Banned Films in New Zealand...OFLC sees films as somehow 'objectionable'
New Zealand's film censor, the Office of Film & literature Classification, has published its 2016 Annual Report.

It spends a fair few pages glorying in what a good and important job it is doing. However it also highlights some of its key decisions during the year:

Perfect Sisters re-rated from Australian M to 16

A member of the public emailed the Classification Office outlining concerns about the classification of the DVD Perfect Sisters. The DVD was cross-rated by the New Zealand Film and Video Labelling Body from its Australian rating of M [PG-15], with a note for sex scenes and offensive language. The complainant was surprised at the unrestricted M rating as they observed that the film contained strong suicide references; sex scenes including attempted coercion; and violence, including attempted drowning of a parent in a bath. The complainant also noted that the film (under the title Deadly Sisters) is classified 18 in the United Kingdom, with an advisory about strong violence, suicide references .

The Chief Censor called in the DVD for classification and subsequently gave it a R16 rating. noting that younger teens and children will not be able to place this material in a meaningful context and would likely be greatly shocked and disturbed.

Unfortunately, Perfect Sisters illustrates a growing divergence between Australia and New Zealand in the tolerance of material that depicts violence and sexual violence.

Maken-Ki! Two banned

OFLC received a set of two Blu-ray discs showing season two of the Japanese anime series Maken-Ki from distributor Madman Entertainment for classification prior to commercial release in New Zealand. The series was classified as objectionable (i.e. banned).

The series relates to a group of gifted or magical students who attend a specialised high school named Tenbi Academy. A select group of them form the leadership committee which resolves crises, using their powers and weapons (Maken-Ki), which enhance their powers. The majority of the publication is dubbed in English or is in Japanese with English subtitles. The series tends to promote or support the exploitation of young persons for sexual purposes through the unrelenting sexualisation and fetishisation of the young female characters. The characters are all in high school. Their youth is evidenced by their being dressed in school uniforms, the high school setting, and the fact that they engage in high school activities such as classes and homework. The oldest of the high school characters describes herself as a senior (aged 17), while a number of the characters are described as juniors or freshmen.

This sexual focus is relentless. Every episode features extreme close ups of bare breasts and nipples, and every episode features the characters willingly, or having been coerced, fondling each other's breasts and genital areas. The main purpose of this publication and its hyper-sexualisation of the young female characters is the titillation and arousal of the viewer. It is therefore likely to attract viewers with a prurient interest in young persons. It is likely to reinforce such an interest in young persons and contribute to the problem of young persons being sexually exploited in real life.

Senran Kagura Estival Versus (Console Game) rated R18

Senran Kagura Estival Versus is a video game developed for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita by Japanese studio Tamsoft. For this Western release it is presented in Japanese with English subtitles. In this continuation of the Senran Kagura series, girls from rival shinobi academies find themselves magically transported to the sunny beaches of a mysterious island. Tasked with a series of challenges, the girls battle it out for victory.

The constant sexualisation and sexual themes of the publication are of particular concern. With an exclusively female roster, the game uses a damage mechanic based on the character's clothing. As enemies or allies lose health, their clothing is ripped and torn away with the camera leering at breasts and buttocks as the material disappears.

The characters are shown to be embarrassed and with teary eyes during these sequences. During the fights, the player can also instigate a shinobi transformation , which has several variations. With a swirling background the character is stripped nude, although lens flare effects obscure any genital or nipple nudity. A ninja scroll is then extracted from between their breasts or thighs and held up in a hero pose. The camera focuses on their breasts and buttocks during this, and again as their transformation clothing appears. There is little reason for this beyond titillation.

The dominant effect of Senran Kagura Estival Versus is of a 3D combat game with an inordinate focus on the sexualisation of its female characters. This constant objectification is degrading and demeaning to women, and presents them as sexually available and compliant. This is likely to negatively influence the developing attitudes of younger audiences, including teenagers, by normalising and encouraging such conduct. Moreover, there is extensive sexual innuendo as well as references to adult sexual practices. Consequently, the game earned itself an R18 classification.

Hitman (Computer Game) rated R18

The game Hitman (2015) was classified R18 in New Zealand. Through the use of firearms and explosives, players are able to kill a multitude of innocent people. Opening fire at a Parisian fashion show causes immediate panic, with civilians screaming in terror. Some are huddled on the ground with their hands over their heads, while others flee the room. Security guards and police will attempt to kill the player. If caught in the open the player will quickly die, but through the use of cover combat may be drawn out. With some elusive play and the acquisition of a new suit, the player can escape arrest relatively easily. Although, the blood and gore is not rendered at a high level of resolution, the effect of gunning down a screaming civilian crowd remains high impact. While the killing of civilians is not overly encouraged by the routine gameplay in Hitman, the Classification Office is aware that players routinely post video game footage of these sorts of massacres online where they attract a level of appreciation and acknowledgement from likeminded players.

The Classification Office must conclude that the purpose and intended audience of these posts is likely to be supportive of this high level of violence and cruelty. Through an unfortunate coincidence, Hitman was commercially released soon after the terrorist attacks in Paris where civilians were brutally killed in a real life display of the types of tactics and behaviours demonstrated in the game.

Inside Amy Schumer rated R18

Amy Schumer is an American comedian who is known for her clever deconstruction of what life is like for young, single women whose urban heterosexual lifestyles are a minefield of uncomfortable pressures. Schumer satirises a culture that degrades and demeans women in numerous skits and jokes that are aimed at women's self-obsessions including body-sculpting, the fitness industry, sexual selfies , quick-fix methods of weight control and plastic surgery aimed at vaginal rejuvenation . Schumer constantly exposes the difficulties of meeting male expectations.

Some of the material deals quite candidly with the pornification of American culture. For example, a gang-bang skit, relies on the over-used but still relevant feminist trope of women as sex objects. The disc has strong sexual content, particularly a skit that lampoons scat porn (faeces used in a sexual context) and segments where golden showers (urine used in a sexual context) are mentioned among other sexual proclivities of interviewees.

Schumer does not shy away from presenting material dealing with anal sex, ejaculation on women's faces, or frank discussions of sexual parts, male and female. Extreme sexual practices, such as those commonly portrayed in porn, are discussed frankly and explicitly.

The sexual content is clearly likely to cause harm if the DVD is available to children or young teenagers. However, injury is also likely if young people in their mid-teenage years access the material. The DVD confronts its viewers with strong sexual content that includes unusual sexual practices. Adults are presumed to have the ability to critically assess difficult content, but the bulk of 16 or 17 yearolds will not have the sophistication required to fully understand the irony and satire that is a feature of the comedy. Some young people are likely to be disturbed or intimidated by the material and it could place expectations and pressure, particularly on young women, who might then feel that they should be more fully engaged in a sexualised world.



Offsite Article: Fear of the future...

Link Here20th November 2016
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thai website shutdowns soar after king's death

See article from



TrueVisions of Censorship...

Thai film financiers pull Motel Mist, a movie set in a love motel

Link Here18th November 2016
Motel Mist (Rong Ram Tang Dao) is a 2016 Thailand Sci-Fi thriller by Prabda Yoon.
Starring Prapamonton Eiamchan, Vasuphon Kriangprapakit and Wissanu Likitsathaporn. IMDb

In just a few hours, at an unusual love motel on the outskirts of Bangkok called Motel Mistress, four (human) lives intertwine and change forever. Sopol, a typical Thai father-like figure with kinky and dangerous sexual fetishes, brings his new young prey, a school girl named Laila, to room number 7, his custom-made erotic chamber. Tul, a former child actor has been reported missing by his mother and causing the media to speculate wildly over his alleged delusional belief that aliens are coming to take him away.

Prabda Yoon, one of Thailand's best-known writers and winner of the 2002 SEA Write Award for his short-story collection, has made his debut feature film, one of the most anticipated Thai movies of the year and which has toured film festivals since January. Rong Ram Tang Dao , or Motel Mist , was scheduled to hit Thai cinemas yesterday, but at the 11th hour on Wednesday night the film's investor, the cable network TrueVisions, has decided to pull it off the screen to the dismay of the filmmaker and his team.

The film's Facebook page cites disagreement between the filmmaking team and the investor regarding the content of the film .

A representative of TrueVisions tried to spin the censorship by weakly claiming that it didn't ban the film... BUT ... [is postponing] the release indefinitely for more appropriate timing .

It is believed that TrueVisions only saw the film recently and decided that it was not to their liking. The postpone indefinitely decision, which is entirely its right, has deprived Prabda's fans -- and there are many -- as well as the audience from seeing one of the year's most unusual cinematic visions on the big screen. TrueVisions also isn't sure when the film will be screened on its channel.

Motel Mist had already passed the Thai censorship board with an 18-plus rating, a liberal decision given the film's sexual content.



Offsite Article: Why Thailand Should Worry About an 'Improved' Computer Crime Act...

Link Here 18th November 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
Because it's only an 'improvement' for government internet control

See article from



Model law...

Vietnam repeals recent law banning nude photography and beauty pagaents

Link Here17th November 2016
Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has lifted a ban on nude photography which took effect in May and met with opposition from many photographers.

The change of law will come into effect on January 1 next year. Laws prohibiting beauty pageants will also be evised.

Several photographers voiced their opposition to the May decree.  Photographer Dung Art said:

The space for artistic expression through nude photographer is already very limited so what's this circular aimed at? They previously said artistic nude photos could be given permits for exhibition but I know the reality is different, so this circular is meaningless.



Update: Playing down democracy...

Chinese news censors demand minimal coverage of US elections but outlets told to dwell on any juicy scandals that crop up

Link Here10th November 2016
Full story: News Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news
China's news censors ordered digital news media and other news outlets on the mainland to avoid excessive coverage of the US presidential election.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a source said Chinese censors had urged all media houses in the state to not provide any live coverage or broadcast of the poll -- the world's biggest news event of the day.

However, the media were reportedly asked not to miss out on any scandals during the vote and report them in a timely manner . The censors also allowed news media to criticise in depth political abuses in the election, said a source, who did not want to be named because the instructions were confidential.



Update: Cultural censorship...

China's masses enriched by even more film censorship law

Link Here8th November 2016
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
China has passed a new film censorship law mopping up a few more prohibitions somehow overlooked by previous censorship laws.

the law bans content deemed harmful to the dignity, honour and interests of the People's Republic and encouraging the promotion of socialist core values .

The law claims that its aim is to spread core socialist values , enrich the masses' spiritual and cultural life, and set ground rules for the industry.

The law further forbids content that criticised the law or constitution, harms national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, exposes national secrets, harms Chinese security, dignity, honour or interests, or spreads terrorism or extremism. Also banned are subjects that defame the people's excellent cultural traditions , incite ethnic hatred or discrimination or destroy ethnic unity.

It is also illegal for Chinese firms to hire or partner with overseas productions deemed to have views harmful to China's dignity, honour and interests, harm social stability or hurt the feelings of the Chinese people .

Films must not violate the country's religious policies, spread cults, or superstitions , insult or slander people.

The law comes into effect on March 1 next year.



Update: Cultural censorship...

China's masses enriched by even more internet censorship law

Link Here8th November 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China has passed a new internet censorship law mopping up a few more prohibitions somehow overlooked by previous censorship laws.

The legislation takes away the last vestiges of anonymity for China's 710 million internet users, and ensures that the state has the right to censor certain types of content -- or even shut down large sections of the local internet -- in the name of national security.

Internet users must not engage in such activities as the overturn of the socialist system, disseminating violent, obscene or sexual information, or disseminating false information to disrupt the economic or social order.

All network operating companies in China will have to store users' logs for six months and pass a security check if they want to take that data outside national borders. They must also give technical support and assistance to public security organs and state security organs, when preserving national security and investigating crimes.



100 Years of Film Censorship...

New Zealand's OFLC celebrates 100 years of cutting and banning films

Link Here4th November 2016
Full story: Banned Films in New Zealand...OFLC sees films as somehow 'objectionable'
One hundred years ago, film censorship was introduced to New Zealand, making it illegal to show any film without it first being passed by the Censor. The 1916 Cinematograph Film Censorship Act was the government's first attempt to restrict what New Zealanders could watch and hear in audiovisual media.

From 16 to 26 November, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision will mark the centenary with the event CENSORED -- 100 Years of Film Censorship in NZ. A two week programme of films banned in New Zealand including: Mad Max, The Wild One, All Quiet on the Western Front and Battleship Potemkin .

There will also be public panel discussion with the Chief Censor Andrew Jack on censorship in a digital age. He will outline in plans to keep censoring films for a few more years yet, saying:

Important changes are coming and public debate is essential if we're going to ensure a system that is workable, fair, and helps protect our young people from access to potentially harmful content.



Dragon censors...

Comic book artists in Vietnam struggle to get their work published due to censorship concerns

Link Here4th November 2016
A young generation of Vietnamese comic artists is struggling to get its work published as local publishers hesitate over censorship concerns.

For instance, the third volume of popular Vietnamese comic Meo Moc (Musty Mew) by Dang Quang Dung was recently recalled by publishers after a one month run in local bookstores. The artist attributes the recall to a scene featuring the comic's feline protagonist on the toilet and the word poop appearing later in the volume, both of which were deemed offensive by book censors.

Nguyen Khanh Duong, co-founder of Comicola and a comic scriptwriter himself, last week took to Facebook to reveal the harsh censorship of his comic Long Than Tuong (Holy Dragon Imperator), which in February received the Silver Award at the Ninth International MANGA Awards held by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Details such as a little girl grabbing her mother's breast as a joke and an onomatopoeic sound of a sword's slash were asked to be changed before the comic could be published, despite being labeled for readers from 16 years of age, Duong said.

Still, Duong has been luckier than many of his Vietnamese colleagues whose work never even made it to the shelves, including artist Dao Quang Huy whose book was rejected by local publishers for distorting fairy tales . Huy explained

Publishing censorship in Vietnam is a grey area that depends entirely on the sentiment of censors who lack specified criteria on which they can base their judgment.

Many attribute such harsh censorship to the long-held view by Vietnamese publishers and authorities that comics are meant for children, though comics have long been evolved to serve a much wider range of readers.

According to Duong Thanh Hoai, deputy director of Nha Nam book company, comic editors at publishing houses in Vietnam are held back by a fear of violating fine traditions and customs , a vague term in Vietnamese publishing laws that has yet to be defined by the country's lawmakers.



New Zealand's Electoral Commission on another planet...

New Zealand appeals court upholds decision that the commission was wrong to censor a parody video about prime minister John Key

Link Here 27th October 2016
New Zealand's Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court's decision to reverse the ban placed on Darren Watson's song, Planet Key , and its accompanying animated video by Jeremy Jones, which were released during New Zealand's 2014 general election and seen as political advertising rather than a parody on Prime Minister John Key.

The artists are happy with the outcome, but also frustrated with the two-year fight, which included them being threatened with referral to the police. The two men said in a statement:

There is also a sense of frustration at this point, as while the judgment vindicates the men's actions in 2014, it cannot reverse the fact that the Commission's actions prevented their works from being broadcast at the time they were most relevant. Ultimately though, they are hopeful that the decision might mean that other artists seeking to express their political views will receive more liberal treatment than they did, or even that the outcome might compel much-needed reform of the electoral law.

The Court of Appeal said the two men were simply expressing their own political views and not representing a political party.

The country's Electoral Commission told Watson in 2014 to stop selling or promoting the song as they viewed it as promotional political material. Watson took down the song and took the commission to court.

In April 2015 the High Court ruled against the commission's ban. Justice Denis Clifford said that such a ban would impose limits on the right of freedom of expression of the plaintiffs and New Zealand citizens more generally in a manner which, in my view, cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society .

The commission appealed the decision but the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision. The court told the commission it should be more rights-sensitive in its judgment and ordered it to pay Watson's costs.



Update: Internet watershed...

China proposes curfew law to block children from playing online games into the night

Link Here18th October 2016
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
China has proposed new restrictions for online gaming companies to implement. Major tech companies with significant presence in the region could have to undergo substantial operational changes, reports Dow Jones Business News.

The draft rules posted online by the Chinese government on Sept. 30, would require online-game operators to lock out users under the age of 18 between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. The rules will apply to all smart devices.

The regulation is vague as to whether companies would have to use Beijing-approved software. The country says it will support the development of web-filtering software to keep children safe online and will determine whether preexisting products comply with the new requirements.

Along with the internet curfew would be a requirement for a number of websites to post warnings for content unsuitable for minors.



Thousands of reasons...

Thailand censors BBC coverage of the King's death

Link Here17th October 2016
Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement deploring foreign media who allegedly misreported the number of Thais gathered to mourn the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The statement, which did not identify any media outlet specifically, deplored some big foreign media for reporting that thousands of Thais had gathered to mourn the loss of the King at the Grand Palace. The statement said the actual number was much higher noting that hundreds of thousands lined the route from Siriraj Hospital to the Grand Palace. It described the alleged discrepancy between thousands at the palace and hundreds of thousands along the route as manipulative and provocative.

After the announcement of the King's death Thursday evening, all television channels, cable channels and satellite channels under Thai control were replaced by a single government broadcast. The channels resumed at midnight on Friday night, but were told not to broadcast entertainment programmes for a month. However the BBFC and Al Jazeera news channels were subjected to additional censorship in that any news items reporting on Thailand were blacked out with a card announcing that Programming will return shortly.

BBC correspondent Jonathan Head confirmed their coverage about Thailand had been blocked in the country several times ever since. Head told news company Khaosod:

Whenever reporting on Thailand comes up our transmissions are blocked. Just now when I was reporting live.

We have received no official complaints, and the MFA has not mentioned any problems with the BBC's reporting. So we do not know why we are being blocked.

Presumably the reason for the blocking is more about discussions of the succession, rather than numbers attending funeral events. It is a very sensitive issue in Thailand.

Khaosod also reported that cable and satellite company, TrueVisions was looking for freelancers to monitor BBC and Al Jazeera news, and to switch out news reports from Thailand.



Offsite Article: Ripping Yarns...

Link Here14th October 2016
China tears out pages of foreign dictionaries to ludicrously try and deny the existence of Taiwan as a separate country

See article from

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